Hospice care is about improving the quality of living by focusing on both the patient and the family’s overall health (emotional, spiritual and physical) through interdisciplinary care, reducing stress, and providing caregiver assistance. This type of quality care is available to everyone eligible within our nine-county service area – regardless of their ability to pay.
Lack of awareness and misconceptions about hospice care can prevent people from contacting us in their time of need. Center for Hospice Care (CHC) is determined to build awareness and to dismantle misconceptions so we can serve more families.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s (NHPCO) Facts and Figures 2017 Edition, shares some disturbing statistics about who receives hospice services nationally. In 2017, the vast majority of those receiving hospice services through Medicare were Caucasian, which is consistent with other years. Race is not the only factor in determining who seeks hospice care. Religious affiliation, sexual orientation or identity, and differing cultural practices are also contributing factors.
CHC wants to ensure people know that hospice care is for everyone in need of compassionate care. Barb King, CHC’s diversity officer, has been examining our efforts to outreach to all communities, particularly those underserved.
“I have been looking at how CHC can become more educated about other communities, and their unique needs,” King said. “The greatest way to have an impact in your community is when you’re empathetic with people and demonstrate an understanding of their perspective and circumstances.”
The goal of this outreach is to show all communities, that we are here to help. We support both families and patients.
“I think our number one barrier is fear,” King explained. “There is fear that there is going to be a cost, or fear that I’m going to let hospice staff into my house and they are going to take over.”
The reality is that the pressures of caring for loved ones with chronic health issues without support leads to more stress in the long run. The stress they are trying to avoid by not contacting CHC actually results in additional hardship for the patients and families. How do we help potential patients and their families understand that CHC is here for them?
“I believe that we must first be friendly and show that we care. I open my door for someone who cares for me, not just trying to sell me something. I need to know they genuinely care about what I think and what I want. That’s our goal,” said King. “Our first step is equipping the staff that goes into the home. The most powerful ally we have is positive word of mouth from the people we serve. That is a great way to break barriers.”
Hospice care is about respecting the unique needs and wants of the individual. The goal is to compassionately support families and patients in any way possible.
“Part of diversity and inclusion is learning that we all have our own beliefs,” King said. “My job is not to come into your household, as a caregiver, and change your beliefs, or make sure ours match. My job is to give you the best end-of-life care possible. My job is to help that transition be better by improving the quality of living. My personal beliefs stay at home.”
Living life to the fullest and dying on our own terms, with dignity and comfort, are common end-of-life wishes. Hospice and palliative care help provide this experience. Invite us in. Let us help. We are here for everyone.