Donald Schumacher: Hi! My name is Donald Schumacher and I am President of The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. We are here today to talk with you about Hospice Care. Now some of you may have had experience with Hospice Care, some of you may know or have that experience with palliative care. Palliative care is the provision of good comprehensive of pain and symptom management to patients who are facing serious or terminal illness. Today, we are going to be focusing on Hospice Care which is the largest provider of palliative care in this country. About 1.
5 million people receive Hospice Care over the course of about a year. During that time period, Americans such as yourselves, probably have received the news that the illness that they were being treated for is not unmoved towards a curative phase of their illness but in fact has become terminally ill. If yourself or your loved one has received this news from their physician and they have made a choice or a decision to move towards a more thoughtful palliative supportive model rather than curative treatment. The focus is on care, not cure and the object of Hospice Care is to provide to that patient and their family enough support to allow the process of dying to take place, and as comfortable as setting as possible. Care is also highly identified as being connected to the family as well. Because all patients, as they are going through the process of dying, do need to have the love, support and care of their family members or loves ones. So for a Hospice as a provider of services, the patient and the family are defined as the unit of care. So what I am going to share with you are first definitions of Hospice Care, the types of Hospice Care, and when to begin preparing for it, how Hospice Care is paid for, how you would go about choosing a Hospice in your community, and how you might prepare yourself and your family for the entry into Hospice programs. Because even though this is a sad and some times difficult issue, it's very, very important that you have enough advance knowledge and advance worrying, and advance preparation so that before you are admitted to Hospice services you have enough information and no one to make that call. Before we begin, let me share a little bit with you about our organization. I am speaking to you today from the National Center for Care at the End of Life here in Alexandria, Virginia. This building houses The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the National Hospice Foundation, FASA which is our work in Africa, and The Alliance for Care at the End of Life. These four organizations work in concert to bring awareness, education, public policy, and advocacy to consumers and providers of Hospice services all around this country. And now let's get going and looking at what Hospice Care might mean to you should it come into your life.