(Alexandria, Va) – The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization wants all people to know that hospice delivers the highest quality care and services to patients and family caregivers who are coping with life-limiting illness. A recent article carried by the Associated Press (“Assisted Suicide Presents Legal Quandary,” by Greg Bluestein, 03/02/09) carries a misinformed quote from an attorney who incorrectly compared hospice to suicide. This remark was incorrect and demonstrates a lack of understanding about the hospice philosophy of care.
- Hospice focuses on caring, not curing and, in most cases, care is provided in the person’s home.
- Hospice care also is provided in freestanding hospice centers, hospitals, and nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness.
- Hospice provides bereavement support to families for 12 months following the death of their loved one.
- Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations
- Research has shown the Medicare beneficiaries that opted for hospice care as opposed to other medical interventions when faced with a terminal illness lived on average 29 days longer than those who did not receive hospice care.
Foundational values of NHPCO include universal access to high quality hospice and palliative care, fully informed decision-making, mitigation of unwanted suffering, non-abandonment and support for the bereaved. NHPCO would encourage all those struggling with serious and life-limiting illness to fully explore hospice and palliative care services before they find themselves in a crisis situation involving options for care of a dying loved one. To learn more about hospice and palliative care, dealing with pain, and advance care planning, visit NHPCO’s Caring Connections at http://www.caringinfo.org/oror call 1-800-658-8898.
Note: NHPCO’s position statement and narrative on physician assisted suicide is available via the Communications section of NHPCO’s Web site.
Media Contact: Jon Radulovic
NHPCO, Vice President of Communications
For more information visit, http://www.nhpco.org