Monday, November 23, 2015

Understanding Palliative Care

"Deadra's Story" a new video about the ways palliative care changed one woman’s life has been released as part of NHPCO's Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice campaign.

In May of 2014, Deadra Gladden was in the hospital, feeling hopeless, and in excruciating pain due to lupus, a disease she has been battling for over half her young life. Deadra’s doctors told her family it was time to call hospice. But after a consult with a nurse from Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice, a palliative care team was brought in instead. In the new video, viewers get a glimpse at how much Deadra’s life has improved because of palliative care.

Palliative care, sometimes referred to as “comfort care,” is a specialized approach to the treatment of patients with a serious or life-threatening illness. The goal of palliative care is to provide relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of serious illness. It is also designed to improve the quality of life of both the patient and the patient’s family.   Patients can continue to receive aggressive and curative kinds of treatment like chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis and surgery while receiving palliative care.

Learn more about palliative care on the Moments of Life website.

Monday, November 16, 2015

DC Media Focuses on Care of Dying Veterans

Across the nation, attention turned to U.S. military Veterans on November 11, a day of annual remembrance and appreciation for those who have served our country. In the Washington, DC area, two prominent media outlets featured stories about the We Honor Veterans initiative and the work hospices are doing to care for Veterans.

Hospices are dedicated to making sure that Veterans under their care receive the acknowledgment and support they need at life's end.

On station WJLA's morning's broadcast of "Good Morning Washington" –  the ABC affiliate in DC – news journalist Autria Godfrey interviewed former Lieutenant Colonel Dave Benhoff, a former Marine who has continued his service to others as the Veterans Coordinator at Virginia's Heartland Hospice.

Benhoff was accompanied by his therapy dog, Nikita, and he spoke about the ways that he and Nikita support Veterans who are receiving care from Heartland Hospice. (A video, “Nikita’s Mission,” is available on the Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice website.)

That same day, on WUSA Channel 9's "Great Day Washington" broadcast, Benhoff was joined by Dr. Scott Shreve, National Director for Hospice and Palliative Care for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Shreve and Benhoff spoke about some of the unique needs that Veterans have at the end of life and the ways that the We Honor Veterans initiative, an innovative project developed five years ago by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has improved care for dying Veterans.

Currently, one out of four dying Americans has served in the military. Most served during World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War.  For many combat Veterans, difficult situations faced during their military service can come back and be difficult to cope with - both for the patient and family caregivers. Hospices are dedicated to making sure that Veterans under their care receive the acknowledgment and support they need at life's end.

See NHPCO’s press release honoring U.S. Veterans.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November Hospice & Palliative Care Month Proclamation

In recognition of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, NHPCO has issued the following proclamation calling for increased awareness and acknowledgement of the many accomplishments of hospice and palliative care.
WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care empower people facing a serious or life-limiting illness to live as fully as possible, surrounded and supported by family and loved ones;

WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care professionals are dedicated to helping diverse communities access quality end-of-life care and are committed to removing barriers to accessing care;

WHEREAS,  hospice and palliative care bring patients and family caregivers the highest quality care delivered by an interdisciplinary team of skilled professionals that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, health aides, spiritual care providers and others who make the wishes of each patient and family a priority;

WHEREAS, through pain management and symptom control, caregiver training and assistance, and emotional and spiritual support, allowing patients to live fully and make more meaningful moments until the end,  surrounded and supported by the faces of loved ones, friends, and committed caregivers;

WHEREAS, Each year, hospice saves Medicare more than $2 billion by providing solutions for physicians, care to patients and comfort to families anywhere, at any time.
WHEREAS, every year more than 1.6 to 1.7 million Americans living with life-limiting illness, and their families, received care from the nation’s hospice programs in communities throughout the United States;

WHEREAS, more than 430,000 trained volunteers contribute 19 million hours of service to hospice programs annually in the U.S.;

WHEREAS, hospice and palliative care providers encourage all people to learn more about options of care and to share their wishes with family, loved ones, and their healthcare professionals;

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved, by virtue of the authority vested in the Board of Directors of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, we do hereby proclaim November 2015 as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and encourage citizens to increase their understanding and awareness of care at the end of life and to observe this month with appropriate activities and programs.

Learn more about hospice and see real stories of patients and families showing all that hospice can do to make more meaningful moments possible at