NHPCO’s Moments of Life campaign got a nice write-up in the Huffington Post this week, courtesy of hospice physician Karen M. Wyatt, MD. If you are unfamiliar with this campaign, Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice seeks to record and distribute personal stories of patients and families receiving the benefits of hospice, with the goal of dispelling myths and misconceptions about hospice and end-of-life care. The project began last May, and has already hit over a million views.
From Dr. Wyatt’s article:
“Here are five of the messages conveyed by the Moments of Life campaign that shatter the most common misconceptions about hospice care:
1. Hospice patients enjoy life.
One of the most common fears about hospice care is that it is sad and depressing for the patient and loved ones. But the Moments of Life videos show patients laughing, praying, hugging, traveling, picnicking, and even fishing with their loved ones as they make the most of each moment of life available to them. Hospice care, by properly managing symptoms, helps patients stay comfortable and alert so that they can spend quality moments with the ones they love.
2. Hospice patients are filled with hope.
Some of those not familiar with hospice have a perception that choosing hospice care equates with “giving up hope.” In fact, physicians often cite this as a reason for not mentioning hospice to their patients. However, the patients depicted in the Moments of Life videos show an entirely different point of view: they find hope in the fact that they are able to stay in their own homes, be surrounded by loved ones, remain active as long as possible, and have their symptoms under control.
3. Hospice patients live longer.
Another common misperception is that patients who opt for hospice care will die sooner than those who continue treatment. However, a NHPCO study has shown that patients who receive hospice care actually live an average of 29 days longer than those with a similar diagnosis who do not choose hospice. The Moments of Life campaign includes the stories of patients who have lived beyond their medical prognosis and have enjoyed quality of life during those days.
4. Hospice provides excellent team-based medical care.
One misconception is that choosing hospice means going without medical treatment. In fact hospice and palliative care patients continue to receive high quality care from an entire team of specialized providers, including doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, aides, therapists, and volunteers. The Moments of Life videos show this top-level care being provided to hospice patients in their homes with skill, compassion, and concern.
5. Hospice is for everyone.
According to Anita Brikman, Senior VP of Strategic Communication at the NHPCO, cultural barriers to hospice care remain an ongoing issue in the U.S. The Moments of Life campaign addresses these barriers by including patients of diverse ethnicity, age, diagnosis, geographic location, and cultural background. The campaign demonstrates that hospice care is not only available to everyone at the end-of-life but is sensitive to the individual needs and concerns of all patients.
In addition to breaking down these common misperceptions about hospice care through video vignettes, the campaign website at MomentsofLife.org contains a wealth of information for patients and providers. There are tools for finding a hospice, determining treatment options for any stage of a serious illness, and a gallery in which to share photos and stories of other meaningful moments that are still possible near the end-of-life.”
Do you know someone who could benefit from these resources? Do you have a patient who wants to tell their story to the Moments of Life team? Let us know by emailing the Moments of Life team.