President Carter’s hospice care

Monday, April 24, 2023

It has now been 65 days since the announcement that former president, Jimmy Carter had entered hospice care. President Carter’s brave decision to publicly share his end-of-life journey is raising awareness about the importance of early referrals to hospice. Many believe the misconception that beginning hospice care means giving up and can hasten death. Hospice care is not a diagnosis. Hospice is a shift in care provided to treat pain and manage symptoms. The goal of hospice is to provide comfort and to take away the pain and suffering. When pain, stress, and suffering subside, the patient and their loved ones can enjoy their time together for whatever time remains.

Many assume that hospice is for people who are in the final days or weeks of life. Hospice care is available to people who have an estimated life expectancy of six months. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), the average length of stay for Medicare patients enrolled in hospice in 2020 was 97 days. We often hear from patients and families, “I wish we would have called sooner.” Early referrals to hospice care are important because there is more opportunity for the hospice care team to learn about the needs of the patient and their family members. Early referrals can also prevent hospitals stays and offer more opportunity for the patient to spend time with their loved ones.

Although hospice is not necessarily 24/7 care, it offers many benefits to the patient and family. In addition to providing care to hospice patients, families and caregivers receive support from the hospice team in a variety of ways including grief support, resources, and learning proper bathing and lifting techniques. Hospice can also offer supportive therapies such as music, pet, and massage therapy. When choosing a hospice agency, it is important to review the services available to you and your loved ones. If possible, choose a nonprofit hospice agency, such as Lumina. Recent studies have shown that nonprofit hospices provide better care.

If you would like to learn more about hospice or think hospice may be right for you or your loved one, reach out to us at any time.

Lumina, founded as Benton Hospice Service in 1980, is an independent nonprofit hospice serving Linn and Benton Counties in Oregon. Over the years, Lumina has earned a reputation for our commitment to promoting dignity, respecting choices, easing suffering, and honoring the grieving process. We take pride in going above and beyond as both a trusted healthcare provider and a community resource.