Talking about hospice and palliative care are usually not easy topics to discuss, but the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization hopes to lighten that burden with a national awareness effort this month. This year’s theme is “Hospice. Helps. Everyone.”
Five years ago, many in Delaware weren’t getting that help— the First State received a failing grade for its ability to provide palliative care conversations and programs to its citizens. But Delaware has made much progress since then: Last year, the state got a B+.
The headway will continue Dec. 1, when every hospital in the state gets its own in-unit palliative care team. These teams will help get conversations about hospice and palliative care started, said Jennifer Saienni, a spokeswoman for Delaware Hospice.
The difference between hospice and palliative care, she said, is that hospice is for the end of life while palliative care is specialized care for people with serious medical conditions or illnesses. A recent study by the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality found that 73 percent of people in palliative care reported significant symptom improvement, Saienni said.
Delaware Hospice is also unveiling a new name for its palliative program, Delaware Palliative. It offers symptom management and psychosocial support to seriously ill patients.
“We know patients want to go home from the hospital, but often there’s nobody to call for assistance at home,” Saienni said. “That’s where Delaware Palliative comes in to be that lifeline for them— to help direct them to the service they need.”
Learn more about the National Hospice and Palliative Care’s campaign here.