THE HOSPICE MOVEMENT
Providing comforting care is a global mission
Throughout the 27 years that I’ve led Hope Healthcare, I’ve heard the same phrase: “I wish I had found Hope sooner.” This expression always makes me pause because I realize that there was needless suffering before we were able to help. In America, there are many reasons that palliative care and hospice care are often provided too late within one’s illness journey. Some of the reasons include: committed physicians who remain hopeful that the next medical intervention will extend life, regulations that prevent some from qualifying for care, individuals and families who fear the request for palliative care will make death imminent, and a population that doesn’t understand what palliative care is and how it can help.
Despite the fact that formalized hospice care originated in the 1960s and palliative care has been available for centuries, misunderstandings and roadblocks often prevent access to much-needed care. This is not only a national issue. It is a global issue. People are suffering far too long before receiving help.
As part of a delegation from the National Partnership for Hospice Innovation (NPHI), I traveled to Oxford, England, for the opportunity to join leaders from hospice programs throughout the United Kingdom for a collaborative that included an intense and rich exchange of ideas. We learned that our countries share similar challenges and that feelings are universal.
At Oxford, representatives from the United States and the U.K. united with the hope of better integration of palliative and hospice care into health care models and greater access to care. One of the many ideas generated at this summit was a global education campaign. This inspired me to expand our educational outreach efforts within my own
Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope Healthcare, interacting with patients dealing with life-changing illnessesThe final chapter of life should be just as special as every chapter before it.