A word on the word that too many of us are afraid to say


Don’t go easy on this good night,

Old age should burn and be delirious at the end of the day;

Rage, rage against the death of light …

Dylan thomas

It’s time to call something else hospice.

According to the American Cancer Society, palliative care is “a special type of care that emphasizes the quality of life of people and their caregivers who suffer from serious illness limiting life expectancy.” This organization describes the hospice as “compassionate care for people in the last stages of an incurable disease so that they can live fully and comfortably as possible”.

But hospices, as well as palliative care, specialized care for people with serious chronic illnesses, get bad press.

Although palliative care has been around since the 1980s, prevailing myths prevent families from accessing the help they need to provide their loved ones with quality care as they “rise up against the death of the child. light “.

For example, a lingering myth is that palliative care is a place and can only be provided in a hospital or nursing home. Not so. About 70 percent of palliative care takes place in the patient’s home. And while half of hospice patients nationwide have a diagnosis of cancer, the other half have other diagnoses, according to the American Hospice Foundation.

Other myths include: Medicare won’t pay for this. But Medicare beneficiaries can use their Medicare hospice benefit at any time. Another common myth is that once you’re in hospice care, you can’t get out alive. The truth is that patients are free to leave the hospice and resume treatment if they wish.

After all, miracles happen.

But death is certain.

We don’t know when that will come for us. But we know it happens.

Yet for many, the mere mention of the hospice is enough to destroy relationships.

Maybe it’s time to rebrand and educate the public on what the hospice really is.

The concept of specialized care for terminally ill patients began with the work of Dame Cicely Saunders in 1948.

“At a lecture at Yale University, Saunders, who graduated from MD in 1957, showed photos of terminally ill cancer patients before and after receiving ‘palliative care’. The difference in the appearance and general well-being of the patients was remarkable.

Yet it took almost 30 years before the Medicare Hospice Benefit was enacted, and states were given the opportunity to include hospices in their Medicaid programs. Palliative care has also been made available to residents of terminally ill nursing homes, according to the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association (CHAPCA) website.

What a blessing.

Because in the midst of prayers and tears, I want to make sure that my loved one does not suffer from the screaming pain that my mother said her mother was in as she died of inoperable cancer.

Despite the many benefits, many eligible families have rejected hospice care. In fact, a 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society estimated that “2,700 Americans per day experience non-sudden deaths without the benefits of hospice care and that the utilization rate was only 52. 4%.

“The fact that Medicare pays 100% of the cost of hospice care should be a big incentive, but many eligible people are not taking advantage of end-of-life services,” according to an article on Debt.org on the costs of hospice care and the end of life. -Life options.

It’s time to rename and rename hospice palliative care or at least launch a public awareness campaign to debunk the myths about this program.

The hospice is a way to provide quality care to someone suffering from an illness that medical science is not yet able to cure.

Tragically, the stigma surrounding this life-saving treatment prevents thousands of families from obtaining the care that could make the inevitable much easier to bear.

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