Hospices across the country are recognizing November for National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and are emphasizing the importance of quality end-of-life care for all Americans, regardless of age, diagnoses or location of care. Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, the largest hospice in Rhode Island and the 3rd oldest in the country, joins them in this important awareness campaign.
Research, conducted by the National Association of Hospice and Palliative Care has found that eight out of 10 Americans would want to be cared for in their homes if facing a life-limiting illness. Hospice makes this happen; almost 70 percent of patients receive care in their place of residence. Whether it’s the family home, nursing home, residential facility, or hospice inpatient setting, hospice teams strive to reach all appropriate patients and families wherever compassionate end-of-life care is needed.
For example, one out of four Americans will die in a nursing home. A growing number of nursing home residents and their families are opting for hospice services. These patients often present complex issues, including neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, where prognoses are less certain. Multiple studies have shown that hospice significantly improves the quality of care these patients receive in nursing homes,
“Coping with a life-limiting illness is not easy. It’s about the most challenging thing a person will ever do,” said Diana Franchitto, President & CEO of Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island. “Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island’s team of professionals can help. Hospice and palliative care providers take the time to talk with patients and family caregivers, listen to their concerns, and work to ensure they get the care they want,” adds Franchitto.
Hospice care provides expert pain management, symptom control, psycho-social support and spiritual care to patients and families when a cure is not possible. All the necessary medicines and equipment needed to keep a patient comfortable are provided. And hospice is covered by Medicare, Medicaid in most states, and by most insurance plans and HMOs.
Palliative care brings these same skilled services earlier in the course of an illness and can be provided along with other treatments a patient may want to pursue. Many hospitals may have a palliative care program, yet many people don’t realize that hospices are the largest and most extensive network of providers offering palliative care services in the US.
More than 1.5 million people with a life-limiting illness get help from the nation’s hospice and palliative care providers every single year.
“For many people, hospice means giving up hope,” says Franchitto. “That’s not true. In fact, many are surprised to find that hospice is about living a full and meaningful life, free from pain and discomfort. Good pain and symptom control may allow patients to be up and about to enjoy time with family and friends. Hospice provides a different kind of hope – hope for the best quality of life possible, with freedom from pain and preservation of dignity.”
To learn more about hospice and palliative care, visit www.hhcri.org or call our Admission Center at 401-782-0725.
Linda Tolmie, RN, CHPN is the Manager of the Admissions & Referral Center at Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island.