Tag Archives: NHPCO

Hospice Facts and Figures


The latest report from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPNO) offers important and meaningful statistics regarding hospice care in the United States. The most recent year for which full stats were available is 2013.

The average time that a patient was on hospice in 2013 is 72.6 days.

Among hospice patients in 2013, 34.5% were on hospice 7 days or less before death occurred. 14.3% were on hospice for 8-14 days. Another 12.7% were on hospice for 15-29 days. This means 61.5% received care for less than a month. (We presume that many of that 61.5% might have qualified for hospice sooner and received a more complete assortment of hospice services.)

66.6% of hospice patients were at home in 2013 when they passed away. That number is composed of 41.7% who were in private residences. 24.9% were in nursing homes or other residential facilities.

Approximately 84% of hospice patients in 2013 were age 65 or older. 41.2% were 85 or older.

Of those admitted to hospice in 2013, 36.5% had a cancer diagnosis. The majority, 63.5%, had non-cancer diagnoses. Those included dementia (15.2%), heart disease (13.4) and lung disease (9.9%).

Family evaluations of hospice care after their family member’s death included this positive result: 73.5% of those surveyed rated their family member’s care “excellent.”

According to NHCPO estimates, the number of hospice volunteers serving patients topped 355,000 during 2013. They provided approximately 16 million hours of volunteer service.

The Medicare hospice benefit covered 87.7% of hospice patients in the U.S. during 2013. Medicaid, managed care and private insurance covered 10.0%.

These cold, hard stats are useful but they cannot describe the warmth and compassion that most hospice employees and volunteers have for their patients and families. The numbers are impressive, but it is important to remember that, ultimately, hospice care is about quality rather than quantity.

For information about hospice care in metro St. Louis, please call Hope Hospice 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.