WHEREAS, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of St. Christopher’s Hospice in London, widely recognized as the first modern day hospice organization, and the 35th anniversary of the Medicare hospice benefit in the United Sates;
WHEREAS, more than 1.5 million Americans living with life-limiting illness, and their families, receive care annually from the nation’s hospice programs in communities throughout the United States;
WHEREAS, greater awareness to increase more timely access to hospice care is needed given that nearly 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries received care for seven days or less*, considered too short a time to fully benefit from the range of services that hospice offers;
WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care offer those they serve the high-quality of care delivered by an interdisciplinary team of skilled professionals and trained volunteers that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, health aides, spiritual care providers and more;
WHEREAS, the hospice and palliative care philosophy places the needs of the individual at the center of care allowing patients and family caregivers to focus on quality of life, surrounded and supported by family and loved ones, despite serious and life-limiting illness;
WHEREAS, each year, hospice saves Medicare more than $2 billion by providing solutions for physicians, care to patients and comfort to families;
WHEREAS, a growing body of peer-reviewed research indicates that timely access to hospice and palliative care can decrease hospitalizations and Emergency Room visits and increase quality of life for patients and family caregivers;
WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care organizations are advocates and educators about advance care planning that help individuals make decisions about the healthcare they would want to receive should they have a serious or life-limiting illness or if they were unable to speak for themselves;
WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care providers encourage all people to learn more about options of care and to share their wishes with family, loved ones, and their healthcare professionals;
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Board of Directors of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, do hereby proclaim November 2017 as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and encourage the public to increase their understanding and awareness of care at the end of life and to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs.
* NHPCO’s report, Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America, 2016 edition.
NHPCO offers resources to help with promotion for National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.