Hospitals: Leave hospice to long-term care

While 90% of hospice patients receive their care in their own homes per the American Cancer Society, there are still many patients that have the need to receive their care in an assisted living, nursing home, specialized hospice unit, or hospital.

The question then becomes, what is the intention of hospice and where can that “intention” or mission be best delivered?

Purpose of hospice?

Wikipedia states, “Palliative care (from Latin palliare, to cloak) is any form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms….”

The CDC states, “[I]s a program of palliative and supportive care services providing physical, psychological, social, and spiritual care for dying persons, their families, and other loved ones. Hospice services are available in both the home and inpatient settings….”

Generally, most define hospice as end of life care in a home-like setting easing the pain and providing support services for the patient and family in a holistic manor.

I would argue that unless a hospital creates a home-like setting as St. Vincent Hospice Facility in Indianapolis was able to accomplish, then an LTC facility would be better suited for hospice care. St. Vincent’s has gone so far as to provide private patios for their patients. We are not talking about those acute issues that have to be handled in a hospital—we are talking about when a patient can no longer stay at home or chooses not to be at home. Assisted living is the next best environment that offers enough common area space to allow families to visit without feeling uncomfortable and provides interiors that are “home-like.”

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