Category Archives: National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

Sarah’s Interview with KEZK

Greg at the mike

Our community liaison Sarah Bilbrey was interviewed this week by Greg Hewitt, morning host at KEZK (102.5FM) in St. Louis. To listen to their conversation about National Hospice Month and hospice care in St. Louis, please click on the link below.

November—Time To Learn About Hospice


November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, a time to call attention to hospice care in America and the people and organizations that provide that care. Hospice education is an ongoing effort. We at Hope Hospice take every opportunity we can to reach out to the St. Louis community and explain what hospice is and what it is not.

It is encouraging that information and knowledge about hospice is growing. More people have had a relative or friend on hospice care. We find, though, that as more people learn about hospice, misconceptions continue to exist.

Among the biggest misconceptions:

Hospice is a place. While in-patient hospice facilities do exist, almost all hospice care in the U.S. is administered in private homes and in care centers (nursing homes and assisted living facilities).

Hospice is only for the very last days of life. When a determination is made that a person has a life expectancy of 6 months or less, a patient can become eligible for hospice care. Because prognoses can be imprecise, many patients stay on hospice care for more than 6 month.

Hospice care is expensive. Hospice care is a fully-covered Medicare benefit.

Hospice is only for cancer patients. Many hospice patients ARE cancer patients. But other patients have conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s to congestive heart failure to kidney failure.

If a patient lives beyond the initial 6-month period, he or she will be dropped from hospice care. After 6-months, a patient must be recertified. If life expectancy is still 6 months or less, hospice care can continue.

A patient can only receive hospice care from a hospice that he or she is referred to. Families and patients may prefer another hospice, based on recommendations from friends, family and neighbors. There are significant differences among hospices.

The only reason to go on hospice is to get pain medication. A major goal of hospice care is to assure a patient’s comfort. But hospice care is a complete team program that includes spiritual and emotional components. It’s not just about the meds.

Again, the sentences above in bold face are misconceptions. During this month, we encourage you to take time to learn more about hospice care.

In metro St. Louis, call us at Hope Hospice for questions and concerns about hospice care. Reach us at 314-984-9800.


November is Hospice and Palliative Care Month

The theme for this year’s National Hospice and Palliative Care Month (which has just begun) is “Comfort. Love. Respect.” These three words are appropriate because they echo the philosophy of Hope Hospice.

“Comfort. Love. Respect.” Whether you view those three words as nouns or as verbs, they each reflect how we view our mission of patient care. We deliver comfort, love and respect to each Hope Hospice patient. We comfort our patients. We love our patients. And we respect our patients.

It’s important for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) to designate November each year to increase awareness of hospice and the work being done around the US by hospice organizations. At Hope Hospice, we work with the same level of dedication 24/7/365, but we appreciate having a special month to recognize our efforts and tell the community what we do.

Among the key points being made this month by NHPCO are these:

  1. “Hospice is not brink-of-death care intended for the last days of life only.” That quote is from Dr. Donald Schumacher, president of NHPCO.
  2. Anyone can contact hospice. Call your local program to learn if hospice is right for you or your loved one.
  3. Hospice is fully covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private health plans and HMOs.

As hospice education continues and more families use the services of hospice, awareness of hospice is increasing. That’s good news. This fact may be even better news for families considering hospice: Research by NHPCO has found that 94 percent of families who had a loved one cared for by hospice rated the care as “very good” to “excellent.” We at Hope Hospice are proud to be part of a care group that is so highly rated.

“Comfort. Love. Respect.” Those are words we live by every day. During November, which is Hospice and Palliative Care Month, we share those words with our patients and families, our staff, our friends throughout the medical community and the general public.