Are more Americans using hospice? Yes. Are more Americans learning about hospice? Yes. Are there still many Americans who do not know what hospice is and what it provides? Yes.
While progress is being made, there continues to be much work to be done. Our Hope Hospice community liaison staffers are able to share a great deal of information with patients and families considering hospice. They can detail the main elements of hospice care and answer questions about the services Hope Hospice provides.
But a clearer understanding of hospice is important for all members of the public. Generally, this understanding does not occur until a family member is facing a serious threat to his or her life. Learning about hospice well before care is needed may help families and patients make more confident decisions
We applaud those who take the message of hospice directly to Americans. These include Dr. Atul Gawande whose newest book Being Mortal addresses end-of-life issues.
Online research can lead patients and family members to web postings that provide useful information about hospice. These include articles, blogs and videos.
In addition to online resources, your local minister may be able to offer guidance. We suggest that all religious leaders, especially pastors, priests and rabbis, pursue knowledge of hospice care. Since these leaders interact with so many church members seeking counsel, their acute awareness of hospice is vital.
It is also important that more members of the medical community get the full story on hospice care. Not just specialist such as oncologists and cardiologists, but also other medical professionals who can direct patients to the next steps on their life journeys.
We especially encourage individuals who have had a personal experience with hospice care to share their stories with others. A personal conversation can enlighten in ways that more formal presentations cannot.
As our effort to educate the public about hospice care continues, you may call Hope Hospice at any time with specific question about hospice in St. Louis. Call 314-984-9800.