What is Hospice Care?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,166
    Donald Schumacher, President of The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization talks with you about what hospice care is.

    Donald Schumacher: Hi! My name is Don Schumacher and I am President and CEO of The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. We are talking about Hospice Care. Hospice Care has been a part of my life for the last 35 years as I have been a Hospice professional, and often times people come up to me and they say, what is Hospice Care actually? And it's so interesting because they often times have many misperceptions about what Hospice Care actually does. So I thought I conduct this conversation with you about what Hospice care, not only what it is, but also about what it isn't. First of all, Hospice is not a place. Many people think that Hospice Care gets provided in a hospital setting or a Hospice in-patient unit. Hospice is a philosophy of care partially based on the Palliative care model of providing comfort and support to people as they go through the process of a serious illness. There are some Hospices that do have contracts for in-patient hospital care and Hospice facilities if there is an emergent need for hospice in-patient services. But for the most part our patients receive Hospice care at home, in the surroundings of their loved one and their own comfort level. Another misperception is that Hospice is only a physician or a nurse. In fact, it's really not, it's a whole plethora of conversations that take place, some doctors, nurses, social workers, it's a large interdisciplinary team of people. One last misperception is that Hospice Care is only for cancer patients. Actually, that's totally incorrect. Although, it used to be correct. Now about 38% of the patients that we take care have cancer. The rest come to us with a whole wide range of illnesses, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, kidney disease, all of the neurological disease. We also provide care to children who are receiving or in need of Hospice services as well; it's not just for adults. So as you can see it really is available to anyone who is facing a terminal illness. Now that we have talked about Hospice Care. Next, we are going to talk about the actual types of Hospice Care available to you in your home or in-patient center.