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November is Hospice Month

Hospice Helps Patients and Families Focus on Quality of Life
 “It’s about how you live!”

This fall, Hospice of the Valleys celebrates 35 years of service and what better way to honor the work we do than by celebrating Hospice month! November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and this year’s theme is “It’s about how you live!”

Hospice is not a place, but rather a model of high-quality care that enables patients and families to focus on living as fully as possible despite a life-limiting illness. Hospice organizations are among the largest providers of community-based palliative care services in the nation.

“Every year, nearly 1.5 million people living with a life-limiting illness receive care from hospices in this country,” said Edo Banach, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “These highly-trained professionals ensure that patients and families find dignity, respect, and love during one of life’s most difficult journeys – it’s really about living.”

Hospice programs provide pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support, and spiritual care to patients and their families when a cure is not possible.

Did you know:

  • 4,199 hospices were paid by CMS to provide care under the Medicare hospice benefit.
  • 46 percent of Medicare decedents received one day or more of hospice care and were enrolled in hospice at the time of death.
  • Median length of service was 23 days.
  • 74.9 percent of patients received care for 90 days or less, while those receiving care for more than 180 days accounted for 13.1 percent.
  • Cancer was the most common principle diagnosis, accounting for 27.7 percent of patients.
  • 97.8 percent of care was provided at the Routine Home Care level with 55.8 percent of RHC days taking place in the home.

“One of the most common regrets we hear from hospice patients and their families is that they delayed the decision to take advantage of hospice care,” noted Banach.

Nearly 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries receive hospice care for seven days or less, a period considered too short to take full advantage of the many services that the hospice interdisciplinary team offers.

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