November is National Hospice Month and there couldn’t be a better time than now to celebrate the work of so many dedicated individuals involved in the hospice movement and providing hospice care.¬†
We are in the midst of attempting to figure out how best to finance health care in this country at a time when our economy is incredibly challenged.¬†We know that hospice care¬†could be¬†a bright light in this debate because it is the right kind of care for people at the end of their lives and it is delivered efficiently and compassionately without waste of resources.¬†Yet little is being said about shoring up the delivery of this important service.¬†
Just a few short years ago hospice care was little more than “budget dust” on the books of Medicare expenditures.¬†Because of the care we provide and the incredible outreach that has occurred over the past decade, hospice care no longer fits into that category. So, as Dr. Tribble stated, our head pops up in the Whack-A-Mole game being played in Congress. There are no easy answers to this debate over how to “fix” health care in the U.S., but I know for certain that hospice care is a solution, not a problem.¬†
During Hospice Month, which is being celebrated throughout the nation, there is not a better time to make this fact known to our legislators. Won’t you join us in making this known?
Speaking of the right kind of care at the right time, we recently were graced with a visit from Melissa Gilbert of Little House on the Prairie fame, who is passionate about the delivery of hospice and palliative care to children. During her visit she had the opportunity to visit with two of the families for whom Alive Hospice has provided care. She was thrilled to see how these families have been helped by the support of hospice and palliative care and continues to wonder why this care is so inadequately financed.¬†
|¬†¬† Melissa Gilbert (left), who starred in ‘Little House on the Prairie’
¬†¬† as Laura Ingalls, is pictured holding 8-month-old Alive Hospice
¬†¬† patient Jordyn Luker. Jordyn’s mother, Tiffaney, is seated next
¬†¬† to them.
There are many barriers to delivering hospice and palliative care to children including that of financing of that care. We are grateful for community support which allows us to provide such care (including a recent grant from The Memorial Foundation). But Congress needs to do more to remove barriers and allow this much needed care to be financed appropriately.
It is critical to care for those most vulnerable in our population who may be unable to speak for themselves. Melissa is a spokesperson in this regard and never misses an opportunity to advocate for this much-needed care. We were blessed to share a few bright moments with her. She exudes a warmth and love that the children respond to beautifully.¬†What a gift to observe this firsthand.
Jan Jones is president and CEO of Alive Hospice.