“You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life.” – Dame Cicely Saunders, Founder of Hospice Movement
November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. This month is to raise awareness of hospice’s mission of caring. Hospice is made up of healthcare professionals and trained volunteers that together address pain management, control symptoms of illness, and provide emotional support for each individual patient and their loved ones.
Learn more below:
The nation’s hospices serve more than 1.5 million people every year – and their family caregivers, too.
The term “hospice” (from the same root as “hospitality”) was first referred to as a place of rest and shelter for the weary. The name was first applied to specialized care for dying patients by the physician Dame Cicely Saunders, who founded the Hospice Movement in the 1950s near London. Hospice came to the United States when Saunders visited Yale University in 1963. Her lecture led to the development of hospice care as we know it today.
A common misconception about hospice is the length of service. A patient can receive hospice care for as long as necessary, with a certification from their physician. There is not a six-month limit to receiving hospice. Hospice is not for only the last few days or weeks of life. The average length of hospice care for a patient is 19 days, according to the most recent study.
Another big misconception is that with hospice care, you must leave your home. Hospice can be provided in a patient’s home, a nursing home, assisted living, a hospital or a “hospice house.” A “Hospice House” is a facility that specifically cares for those using hospice services.
Approximately 6 million people in the United States could benefit from palliative care.
Palliative Care specifically focuses on serious illness. It is specifically designed to treat complex symptoms and pain, as well as help educate the patient to better understand their treatment options and navigate daily life. People suffering from cancer, cardiac disease, respiratory disease, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, and more use palliative care.
A common misconception is that palliative care is for the dying. This is not true. Palliative care is a part of hospice but you do not need to use hospice services in order to have palliative care.
Another misconception, “A physician recommending palliative care means they’ve give up hope.” Palliative care’s mission is to offer the best quality of life for patients who have been diagnosed with a serious or advanced illness. No one gives up hope with palliative care, however one’s hope may be less about a cure and more about living life to the fullest.
November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.
Organizations across the country are reaching out to raise awareness about the highest quality care for all people coping with life-limiting illness. The best time to learn about your options is before you’re faced with a medical crisis.