November is Home Care and Hospice Month, a time to reflect on the importance — and impact — of one of our most in-demand post-acute services. It also gives us the opportunity to increase awareness and education about how we define this specialized care, and what it means to the patients and families we serve.
At Charter, we look at hospice as a special way of caring for people who have a life-limiting illness through a patient-centered, whole-person approach. Our hospice teams offer the latest and most innovative methods of pain and symptom management, focusing on improving a patient’s quality of life by creating a more comfortable environment for them and their loved ones. Hospice services allow us to provide the physical, emotional and spiritual support you and your family need during the end-of-life journey.
The statistics surrounding these vital services paint an interesting picture of what matters most to patients facing life-limiting diagnoses. According to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice:
· No less than 90% of Americans want to age in place, and home care is the preferred method of health care delivery among the disabled, elderly and chronically ill.
· More than 5 million Americans receive home care annually. Almost two-thirds of home care recipients are women and more than 69% are over the age of 65.
· Data shows home health visits can reduce the likelihood of hospital readmission by as much as 25%.
· Among hospice care recipients, cancer remains the most common diagnosis at 27.2%, followed by heart and circulatory diagnoses at 18.7% and dementia at 18%.
November is also notable for being National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. What’s the difference between the two? In a word, timing.
Both hospice and palliative care provide medical support, such as pain management and symptom control, as well as emotional and spiritual care to patients and their families when facing a serious illness. But hospice occurs closer to the end of a terminal diagnosis, setting it apart from palliative care, which may be administered at any stage of serious illness.
When initiated early, palliative care serves as a resource for patients and loved ones, offering relief from stress, pain and discomfort while ensuring the highest quality of life possible. Where hospice is appropriate when no longer pursuing curative treatment, palliative care can be administered to offer relief towards the end of life or as an extra layer of care while a patient continues treatment for their illness.
One of the most important aspects of palliative care is the consideration of advance directives, which are plans for future care. These crucial conversations — and documented wishes — can put a patient and their loved ones at ease, ensuring that a person’s preferences will be followed, especially if there comes a time when they cannot speak for themselves.
The common goal of home health, hospice and palliative care is to improve quality of life, both for patients who are navigating serious illnesses and their families. Though each is unique in what it offers, all are important pillars of the post-acute care spectrum.
Charter Healthcare is honored to help patients and families navigate the post-acute care continuum and is happy to discuss the benefits of these services for the people you love. Contact us to learn more.