Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has chosen to receive hospice care at his home in Plains, Georgia after a few brief hospital stays.
The Carter Center further explained in a statement on February 18 that Carter, 98, has “decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical information.”
The former President’s choice shines a much-needed light on the benefit of hospice care for those facing the end-of-life.
What Is Hospice Care?
The hospice movement got its start in the United States in the late 1970s during Carter’s presidency.
Hospice care is specialized medical care for people who have an end-of-life diagnosis. Hospice services are provided by teams of healthcare professionals who maximize the comfort of the patient by addressing their personal physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs. Many hospice organizations also provide counseling, respite care, and practical support for the patient and their family members.
Unlike traditional medical care, hospice does not focus on curing an underlying illness. The goal of hospice care is to preserve a patient’s quality of life for whatever time remains.
How Is Hospice Care Financed?
Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and private insurance pay for hospice care. Some hospices are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations and will not turn a patient away based on their financial situation. Local non-profit Hospice Care of the Lowcountry is one such organization.
“Our mission is to serve all people at the end-of-life, no matter what someone’s financial circumstance is,” says James Dismond, the new Executive Director/C.E.O. of Hospice Care of the Lowcountry.
“Being a non-profit means we put the patient’s needs first,” continues Dismond.
How Do I Select A Hospice?
Hospice care can be recommended by a patient’s primary care physician, but the choice of the hospice organization remains solely with the patient.
Dismond continues, “We like to say that hospice care is your choice, but it’s our privilege.”
Hospice Care of the Lowcountry is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 hospice and palliative care organization serving Beaufort and Jasper Counties since 1982. Its mission is to give comfort, honor, and dignity to patients and their families facing challenges associated with the end-of-life through compassionate physical, emotional, and spiritual care, regardless of their financial circumstances. To learn more about HCL, connect with the organization online at www.hospicecarelc.org.
Jeremy O'Neill says
Hospice care does not pursue drastic, potentially painful, or meaningless treatment, but requires medical staff to control the patient’s symptoms with skilled professionalism and good service.