Former President Jimmy Carter announced he was in hospice care in February and remains in hospice care about six months later, but patients and their families’ perceptions of end-of-life care are changing.
Many thought the 98-year-old ex-president was on his deathbed, but his family said he was on his deathbed. continued to enjoy the ice cream Stay up-to-date on Carter Center efforts.
Ben Marcantonio, interim CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, told The Hill this week that the idea that hospice care is a short-term situation “could be a very common understanding.”
“Key Markers Identified in Benefits [of hospice care] Within six months,” Marcantonio said. “But that’s also what happens when the course of the disease runs normally. So it’s not like a definitive indicator.”
The average length of hospice care is about 90 days, but Marcantonio notes that this includes cases where hospice care lasts a few days or less. So while it may surprise some to see how long Carter has been in hospice, his situation is well within the norm experienced by many patients.
Those who work in the hospice field say Mr. Carter has really opened up a conversation with the general public, who are reluctant to think about issues surrounding death and end-of-life care.
“I don’t think anyone as prominent and respected as Jimmy Carter can underestimate the importance of making that decision openly,” said Davis Baird, director of hospice government for the National Home Care and Hospice Association.
Baird said Carter’s decision to make her hospice choice public served to highlight the many benefits patients enjoy.
“I think it’s really important that the public has that model, just the positive experiences he’s going through,” he said. “These things often happen behind closed doors. Other celebrities in hospice, whether they’re old movie stars, sports stars or anyone else, often find out after they’ve died that they were in hospice, but it’s not made clear how.”
The Carter Center has not provided additional information about the former president’s health and declined to comment for this article, but a rare anecdote from a family member draws attention to the purpose of hospice care to ensure a higher quality of life for patients after they decide to stop treatment.
When Carter entered hospice, shared the decision to He was admitted after a series of brief hospitalizations for unexplained symptoms. Hospice experts say this is common behavior among patients who are tired of being in and out of the hospital frequently.
Dr. Marcantonio said that many patients’ thought processes go something like this: Rather, we want to focus on quality of life and reducing the discomfort, pain and all kinds of emotional challenges that come with this process. “
Baird said another common misconception, apart from hospice stays, is that a person’s health deteriorates rapidly in the process. In fact, many patients stabilize their symptoms once they leave the “priming” of the health care system.
Baird noted that treatment for a terminal illness can be very depressing for those looking to do more fun things with their time. Patients and their families may feel better by moving to a space where the patient’s goals and aspirations take precedence over treatment.
Carter, the longest-lived U.S. president in history, has completed five months in hospice care and is nearing an important milestone for many patients like him. After six months (180 days) in hospice, Medicare patients must go through a recertification process to see if they still meet the eligibility criteria.
Many continue to live past six months, at which point the hospice medical director or hospice doctor must be recertified for Medicare to continue to cover the cost of treatment.
These assessments can have dire consequences for the patient.
“For example, if that patient’s medical profile wasn’t declining fast enough, a contractor could come to the hospice and say, ‘Oh, this person isn’t declining fast enough.’ So they didn’t qualify,” Baird said.
If this happens, the patient may have to undergo an audit, which could result in the denial of all claims for six months in hospice.
“It’s not something they want to do often, but it happens,” Baird said.
Hospice recertification is a commonly practiced standard paperwork due to the fact that in most cases, predicting when someone will die is a “greatly imprecise science.”
Marcantonio hopes Carter’s candor will encourage others in a similar situation to consider hospice care. He noted that just over half of those eligible for hospice are in it.
And a recent study found that the sooner eligible people choose to enroll in hospice, the better their quality of life, as well as the lower the overall cost.
of NORC research A University of Chicago study released in March found that Medicare spending for hospice patients is $3.5 billion less than if they chose to stay out of hospice.
The study also found that patients and their families experienced “increased well-being and quality of life, improved pain control, less physical and emotional distress, and less long-term grief and other emotional distress,” regardless of how long patients were in hospice.
“I never heard anyone say, ‘Oh, I wish I was in hospice for less,'” says Marcantonio. “The more we overcome these myths and the misconceptions we have identified, the more people will get the care they need, when they need it.”
https://www.wkrg.com/news/how-jimmy-carter-has-changed-the-conversation-around-hospice-2/ How Jimmy Carter changed the conversation around hospice – WKRG News 5