A Perspective on the End of Life: Hospice Care

Thomas J. Simms, RN, CHPN

Disclosures

Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing eJournal 

In This Article

Improving Awareness of Hospice

While the number of Americans receiving hospice and palliative care grows each year, the NHPCO estimates that for every patient who receives hospice, there is a least one more who could benefit from the comprehensive services available but who does not receive this special care. In 2004, NHPCO statistics suggest that 35.1% of hospice patients died within 7 days or less, which is often an inadequate amount of time for patients and families to take full advantage of the range of hospice services.[6]

Lack of awareness of hospice means too many Americans still die alone or in pain. Too many patients are being referred to hospice care too late or not at all. And too many families are left without bereavement support.

Expanding the reach of hospice care holds enormous potential benefits for those nearing the end of life, whether they are in nursing homes, their own homes, or in hospitals. Research by the National Hospice Foundation has consistently shown that almost 80% of Americans would prefer to die in their homes, free of pain, surrounded by family and loved ones. Hospice can help make this happen.

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