A new study published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine reports that while 90% of hospitals across the U.S. with 300 beds or more have palliative care programs, only 56% of smaller hospitals offer these services.
“This report holds both good news and bad. The good news is the inexorable improvement in access to palliative care. The bad news is that this scientifically proven best care is not available to all people in all hospitals,”
says Charles F. von Gunten, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Palliative Medicine and Clinical Professor of Medicine at Ohio University. The Journal of Palliative Medicine is the official journal of the Center to Advance Palliative Care(CAPC) and an official journal of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.
With World Hospice and Palliative Care Day around the corner (SATURDAY!), and National Hospice and Palliative Care Month coming up in November, what can we as hospice advocates do to promote the accessibility and expansion of palliative care programs? Typically I tell you all to write your legislators, but perhaps we should be writing to our local newspapers and local hospitals. Like I said in yesterday’s post, empowering patients and families to tell their stories is incredibly important in promoting hospice and palliative care programs. After all, hospice came into being in the United States community-by-community. Before there was ever a Medicare Hospice Benefit, there were simply people who identified ways to alleviate pain and suffering in their communities. Shouldn’t we think the same way about palliative care access? What can you do in your town? Try writing a letter to the editor about this important issue, and include some stories (without divulging personal details) that can help people relate to the importance of quality hospice and palliative care. Use social media this weekend, and all of November, to advocate for these important issues.
Want to know more about how to help develop palliative care programs? NHPCO offers many resources to our member hospices and those interested specifically in palliative care membership. Click here to learn more.
Do you have an idea to promote hospice and palliative care? Did you write a letter to the editor and get it published? Let us know in the comments!