This November, the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI) honors the providers, caregivers, advocates, policymakers, and patients who’ve helped bring person-centered care to people and families living with life-limiting and serious illness. Yet despite palliative and hospice care becoming increasingly integrated components of high-quality healthcare, significant work remains.
“National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is an opportunity to remember why we do what we do,” said Tom Koutsoumpas, Founder & CEO of NPHI. “Both palliative care and hospice provide people with the opportunity to live more fully at all stages of care.”
Palliative care and hospice involve an interdisciplinary team with a whole-person approach to care. While symptom control is key, high-quality palliative and hospice care also address patients’ social, emotional and spiritual needs. Indeed, one 2010 study showed that palliative care significantly improved the quality of life of patients with advanced lung cancer: Patients reported reduced symptoms of depression, required hospitalization less often, and even survived longer.
Yet despite recommendations by the American Cancer Society and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, some two-thirds of patients living with serious illness do not receive palliative care. Meanwhile, about 50% of patients who enter hospice die within 3-weeks, suggesting late referral.
“Given what we know about the benefits of hospice and palliative care, it’s unacceptable that utilization is so low,” said Carole Fisher, President of NPHI. “By working with our member programs and a diverse group of stakeholders we aim to ensure a future where everyone living with serious illness has access to this transformational care.”
In addition to celebrating National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, NPHI is currently hosting the 2021 Virtual Summit, Leading into the Future – the Road Ahead.