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National Hospice Month

Thank you all hospice personnel for everything you do!

The Facts and Figures of Hospice

All data on this page is sourced from NHPCO 2016 Facts and Figures report


Figure 1 Geographic variation in the proportion of medicare decendents who died while receiving hospice care in 2015

Map of Services by State (figure 1)

Hospice is a service for people dealing with terminal illness who have been given a prognosis of 6months or less. Arizona consistantly has higher than average utilization of hospice services with 55-57% of all elligible medicare recipiants electing hospice.

Principle Diagnosis (figure 2)

The Principle Diagnosis is the illness that is deemed to be the most contributory to an individual's terminal prognosis. The symptoms related to the principle diagnosis serve as the focal point of the hospice care team's plan of care as they work to ensure that the person is as comfortable as possible.

Figure 2
Figure 3 * Includes skilled nursing facilities, nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and RHC days in a hospice inpatient facility.

Location of Death (figure 3)

A common myth is that hospice is a place that people go to receive care. The truth is that only 15% of hospice patients receive care in an actual hospice facility. The majority of people receiving hospice care receive it in the comfort of their own home.

All statistics used in the above are from NHPCO Facts and Figures 2016. See full list of facts and figures here.

Myths and Facts about Hospice

In the absence of facts, myth rushes in...

Hospice stories head
  • Myth: Hospice​ ​is​ ​a​ ​place
  • Fact: Hospice ​care ​takes ​place ​wherever ​the ​patient ​calls ​home, ​including ​skilled ​nursing ​and ​assisted ​living facilities.
  • Myth: Hospice​ ​is​ ​only​ ​for​ ​patients​ ​who​ ​have​ ​given​ ​up​ ​hope​ ​and​ ​are​ ​close​ ​to​ ​death.
  • Fact: Hospice ​is ​about ​living ​life ​as ​fully ​as ​possible. ​In ​fact, ​patients ​and ​families ​receive ​the ​greatest ​benefit when ​hospice ​care ​is ​started ​early.
  • Myth: Families​ ​will​ ​have​ ​to​ ​pay​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​money​ ​for​ ​hospice​ ​care.
  • Fact: Hospice ​care, ​including ​medications, ​medical ​supplies, ​and ​durable ​equipment ​related ​to ​the ​hospice diagnosis, ​is ​a ​Medicare ​benefit. ​Most ​private ​insurers ​also ​cover ​hospice.
  • Myth: Hospice​ ​is​ ​only​ ​for​ ​cancer​ ​patients.
  • Fact: A ​large ​number ​of ​hospice ​patients ​have ​a ​diagnosis ​other ​than ​cancer, ​such ​as ​cardiovascular ​or chronic ​lung ​diseases.
  • Myth: Since​ ​hospice​ ​care​ ​is​ ​only​ ​available​ ​for​ ​six​ ​months,​ ​delay​ ​enrollment​ ​as​ ​long​ ​as​ ​possible.
  • Fact: Hospice ​patients ​can ​stay ​on ​hospice ​care ​as ​long ​as ​medically ​necessary ​while ​the ​disease ​takes ​its normal ​course. ​Hospice ​eligibility ​requires ​a ​prognosis ​of ​less ​than ​six ​months, ​but ​patients ​who survive ​that ​period ​can ​come ​on ​and ​off ​hospice ​care, ​or ​be ​re-certified ​for ​hospice ​care ​as ​necessary.
  • Myth: Hospice​ ​gives​ ​the​ ​patient​ ​so​ ​much​ ​medicine​ ​that​ ​the​ ​patient​ ​is​ ​out​ ​of​ ​touch,​ ​sleeps​ ​too​ ​much​ ​and becomes​ ​addicted​ ​to​ ​pain​ ​medication.
  • Fact: One ​of ​the ​goals ​of ​hospice ​care ​is ​to ​make ​the ​patient ​comfortable, ​pain ​free ​and ​as ​alert ​as ​possible.
Facts are stuborn things... Ronald Reagan
  • Myth: Hospice​ ​uses​ ​morphine​ ​which​ ​causes​ ​the​ ​patient​ ​to​ ​die​ ​sooner.
  • Fact: Hospice ​uses ​morphine ​and ​other ​pain ​medications ​to ​keep ​the ​patient ​comfortable. ​It ​does ​not ​cause death.
  • Myth: Hospice​ ​stops​ ​feeding​ ​patients​ ​and​ ​they​ ​become​ ​dehydrated​ ​and​ ​starve​ ​to​ ​death.
  • Fact: Hospice ​encourages ​patients ​to ​eat ​and ​drink ​only ​what ​they ​want. ​It ​is ​natural ​for ​some ​patients ​to ​not feel ​hunger ​or ​thirst. ​This ​is ​part ​of ​the ​dying ​process ​as ​the ​body ​shuts ​down.
  • Myth: Hospice​ ​is​ ​only​ ​for​ ​the​ ​sick​ ​family​ ​member.
  • Fact: The ​focus ​of ​hospice ​is ​not ​only ​on ​medical ​care, ​but ​on ​the ​emotional, ​social ​and ​spiritual ​needs ​of ​the entire ​family. ​We ​assist ​family ​members ​and ​caregivers ​during ​the ​illness ​and ​offer ​bereavement support ​during ​the ​thirteen ​months ​following ​death.
  • Myth: It​ ​is​ ​a​ ​difficult​ ​process​ ​to​ ​begin​ ​hospice​ ​care.
  • Fact: It ​only ​takes ​one ​phone ​call. ​Agape ​Hospice ​takes ​cares ​of ​everything ​else. ​We ​will ​work ​with ​the patient’s ​physician ​to ​determine ​if ​hospice ​care ​is ​appropriate ​and ​to ​arrange ​for ​services ​to ​begin.

Agape Hospice Stories

True stories, by Agape Hospice

Hospice stories head

A Non Medical Hospice Intervention

I can’t even begin to touch the tip of the iceberg to tell you all what you mean to us. I can’t even put my thoughts into words.

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The Make-Over

On that day, Mary was not dying on hospice; she was living...I could not be prouder of Team Agape and the work they do every day for patients just like Mary.

Full Story

Date Night

Patsy was ecstatic over the idea of having one more date night with her true love. She immediately began giving Samira some additional information to help Samira in her planning...

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Survey Week

Once again, Monday arrived. It was a pleasant Spring morning in Tucson, and April, our Administrator and lead Compliance Officer, was checking in online to view our account home page in the Joint Commission’s website...

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