Earlier Hospice Admission Benefits Patients, Families
Apr 4, 2022
Leslie Friedel, CEO

Hospice can be a frightening word for many people. However, hospice can also be a time of strengthening family bonds. Hospice care is the model of high-quality, patient-focused, compassionate care that helps terminally ill patients and their families live as fully as possible. Hospice uses an interdisciplinary team of experienced health care professionals and trained volunteers who address symptom control, pain management, and provide emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. About 48% of all U.S. deaths are hospice-eligible.

We have now had 35 years of experience with the Medicare hospice benefit. Despite excellent quality outcomes in symptom management, patient and family satisfaction, and reduction in health care costs, only 12-15% of beneficiaries’ days during the last year of life are spent in hospice, according to the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. One of the key findings was that practitioners and families misunderstand the eligibility requirements and thus miss out on weeks or months of supportive care.

Something we often hear at Stillwater Hospice (formerly Visiting Nurse), is that families wish they had chosen hospice earlier in a patient’s illness. The average time a person spends in hospice depends on the illness he or she is facing, but studies have repeatedly shown longer survival times when a patient chooses to discontinue attempts at curative treatment and enrolls in hospice care. 

Those extra days can be filled with time with loved ones, reminiscing and enjoying meaningful moments together. With support from an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains, grief counselors and volunteers, the patient and the family are encircled by a community of care as they face the end of life. 

Stillwater Hospice

Phone: (260) 435-3222


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