For Immediate Release
November 10, 2011

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

KDHE Raises Awareness of Hospice and Palliative Care

Topeka - Coping with a serious or life-limiting illness is not easy. In fact, it might be the hardest work you’ll ever do. Working with doctors and hospitals, navigating the maze of care needs, figuring out insurance coverage, all in addition to taking care of your family can be overwhelming.

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) would like to make sure people understand what valuable resources are available in Kansas.

“Hospice care providers and physicians, including palliative care specialists, take the time to talk with you and help you understand your illness and what care options might be available. They make your wishes a priority and make sure you get the care you want and deserve,” said Robert Moser, KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer.  “We appreciate these specialists for providing quality care during one of life’s most challenging times.”

Hospice care provides expert pain management, symptom control, psycho-social support and spiritual care to patients and families when a cure is not possible. All the necessary medicines and equipment needed to keep a patient comfortable can be brought right to the home, which is where most Americans would like to be if at all possible.  Hospice makes this happen.

Palliative care brings these same skilled services earlier in the course of an illness and can be provided along with other treatments a patient may want to pursue.  Hospices are the largest providers of palliative care services in the U.S.

More than 1.5 million people with a life-limiting illness get help from the nation’s hospice and palliative care providers every single year. 

“It’s about quality of life. With the help of hospice and palliative care, patients and families can focus on what’s most important, living as fully as possible in spite of illness.” Moser said.

“There’s an inaccurate perception among the American public that hospice means you’ve given up,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “Those of us who have worked in the field have seen firsthand how hospice and palliative care can improve the quality of life. And there’s a growing body of research showing that hospice and palliative care may prolong the lives of some people who receive care.”

KDHE surveys Hospice facilities throughout the year to ensure Federal compliance and KDHE’s Health Facilities provide a listing of Kansas Hospice facilities at www.kdheks.gov/bhfr/fac_list/hospice.doc. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Caring Connections offers free information and resources at www.caringinfo.org or via the HelpLine at 800-658-8898.