Are people gradually becoming more aware of hospice? Does it seem that when hospice is mentioned in a conversation, someone usually says, “Yes, my mother (or other loved one) was on hospice. Those people did such a great job!” Or, “The hospice nurses made sure that my uncle was not in pain during his final days.”
Does it seem lately that when someone talks about hospice, they are better informed? Has the general public learned that the great majority of hospice care is performed in private residences and in nursing homes, not at in-patient hospice facilities? Do they know that hospice care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurers? Do they know that hospice is not just doctors and nurses, but other teams members as well? Increasingly, the answers are yes.
How has this jump in hospice awareness and knowledge happened?
- More people are using hospice. Growth in hospice care organizations and in numbers of hospice patients has increased dramatically in St. Louis and across America in the last five years. As hospice delivers care to more patients, the family members and friends of those patients tell others about the work and the compassion of hospice personnel.
- Media members are more willing to do stories about hospice care and hospice patients. Some outlets are still looking primarily for lighter content beyond their hard news coverage. But as more media people learn what hospice is and what it does, they are more eager to tell the story. Even though hospice deals with people who are expected to die, hospice work is not all gloom and doom—a fact that media members are figuring out.
- The internet has, over the past decade and a half, delivered enormous amounts of information about hospice care. By utilizing hospice agency websites and blogs (such as this one), a person can obtain useful facts and opinions about hospice care and its value.
- The medical community, which is obliged to constantly gain knowledge about its specialty fields and general medical issues, has learned more about hospice. Sometimes this is because patients and patient families have asked doctors specific questions about hospice.
Hope Hospice knows that there is much work yet to be done in informing Americans about hospice and its value. We can’t stop now. But we can take just a moment and rejoice in the fact that efforts to inform people about hospice are moving ahead.