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Key Hospice Messages

Printed with permission from NHPCO

Hospice: It's About How You LIVE

Overarching Message:

All Americans deserve quality care at the end of life – it's a fundamental part of living.

Key Message One:

Hospice Care is the model of high-quality, compassionate care that helps patients and families live as fully as possible.

Supporting Points:

  • Hospice cares for more than 1.65 million Americans, and their families, every year—a number that continues to grow.
  • The focus in on caring, not curing. Hospice utilizes an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals and trained volunteers that address symptom control, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient's needs and wishes.
  • Hospice is not “giving up,” nor is it a form of euthanasia or physician assisted suicide.


Key Message Two:

Hospice Provides the Care Americans Have Said They Want.

Supporting Points:

  • A Gallup poll reveals that close to nine in ten adults (88%) would prefer to die in their homes, free of pain, surrounded by family and loved ones: Hospice works to make this happen.
  • National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization research shows that 94% of families who had a loved one cared for by hospice rated the care as very good to excellent.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has indicated that expanding the reach of hospice care holds enormous potential benefits for those nearing the end of life, whether they are in nursing homes, their own homes, or in hospitals.


Key Message Three:

Hospice Care is Not Limited to Six-months of Service.

Supporting Points:

  • The Medicare Hospice Benefit requires that a terminally-ill patient have a prognosis of six months or less: There is not a six-month limit to hospice care services.
  • Hospice eligibility requirements should not be confused with length of service.
  • A patient in the final phase of life may receive hospice care for as long as necessary when a physician certifies that he or she continues to meet eligibility requirements.
  • Under the Medicare Hospice Benefit, two 90-day periods of care (a total of six months) are followed by an unlimited number of 60-day periods.


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