Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hospice Use UP, Length of Stay DOWN

Just wanted to pass along this recently-released data from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization - apparently more patients are entering hospice but for shorter periods of time.

Many of us have benefited greatly from the wonderfully supportive and compassionate services of hospice when family members were dying. So it saddens me to think patients enter the system later than they should. But I know that is the case - too many of my acquaintance have entered hospice only to die within days, receiving too little of the sensitive end-of-life care that was available. Hospice provides unique expertise in physical pain management for dying loved ones but perhaps more importantly, they provide extraordinary emotional and spiritual pain management for both patients and their families. And that benefit is life-lasting - those of us "left behind" live on with those memories of last moments and hospice provides the expertise to help that part of our narratives be as good as it can possibly be.

1 comment:

  1. As a hospice nurse of eight years, I agree, patients enter hospice services often times in the "active dying" phase, with only a few days to a week before dying. Even in this 21st Century, families and patients are unaware of hospice services or don't realize they may qualify and use hospice at all. Sometimes, it's a matter of a family being in denial that their loved one is in fact dying. There is a mindset that once hospice is brought in then it means their loved one is going to die.

    It is a good idea to utilize hospice services as early as possible to maximize the benefits that can be achieved for symptom control and any and all comfort meaures. Also, let's not forget that hospice is wonderful to allow respite for caregivers which is so important.

    Hospice is a beautiful gift for anyone wishing comofort only care in the privacy of their own home or long term care facility. Utilize it early to get the most benefit so that your loved one will be as comfortable as possible.

    Gail Gabel, RN