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November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month!

By Dr. Bruce Smith, Executive Medical Director, Palliative Care Services | November 02, 2015

November 1 marks the beginning of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, which works to increase the understanding and awareness of care at the end of life.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “most adults (90 percent) say they would prefer to receive end-of-life care in their home if they were terminally ill, yet data show that only about one-third of Medicare beneficiaries (age 65 and older) died at home.”  Better awareness of end of life care can improve those odds.

Hospice care focuses on providing comprehensive care for people in the last 6 months or so of life and is usually provided in the patient’s home.  Palliative care is aimed at relieving symptoms regardless of expected lifespan.  Both hospice and palliative care focus on providing all the treatments and care that are necessary to help reduce physical, emotional, and social pain.  They are not about doing less or stopping care, but about doing everything that is appropriate based on the patient’s condition and wishes. 

In 2014, Regence developed an industry-leading palliative care insurance benefit package.  Through our Personalized Care Support program, members with life-limiting or serious illnesses have access to advance care planning tools, expert care coordination, mental health services, social service resources, and expanded home-health benefits.  By focusing on the patient’s own goals of care, this approach helps avoid unwanted interventions and leads to better quality of life and higher patient and family satisfaction through the course of an illness. 

Regence is proud to be a leader in the development of a comprehensive palliative care benefit and for our ongoing support of this growing specialty.

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