Patient Referral

Jimmy Carter hospice care entrance sheds light on the industry

By Jonathan Ketz, Fox 4 Kansas City

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Former President Jimmy Carter entering hospice care could reverse the negative connotation people have about the industry, according to local workers.

“Not only just with the general public, but even with some physicians who don’t have a full understanding of what hospice is and when patients should come on,” Crossroads Hospice Clinical Director Stephanie Bennett said in an interview with FOX4 Tuesday.

Bennett wants people to know more about their business now that Carter is under hospice care.

“There’s been just such a stigma about hospice for so long, a black cloud over it if you want to say,” Bennett said.

Bennett works on the physical side with patients. She says there needs to be more education on what they do. She says they’re more than just a place where people can go before, they’re about to die.

“Hospice’s goal is just to help your quality of life,” she continued. “Whether it’s your last few days or your last few months… but not only is it to help your quality of life, it’s to help get you and your family to that mental state where you’re going to be OK. I mean, that is our goal is to help you be okay with your coming death, help your family be okay that you’re going to die.”

Crossroads Hospice also has support service workers who help out with the mental side of patients entering hospice care.

“I think a common myth in hospice is, ‘Oh…you’re giving up hope,” Support Services Director Val Criswell said in an interview with FOX4 Tuesday.

Criswell hopes more people take advantage of what Crossroads has to offer.

“I think that’s one of the things we wish we’d see more of is people coming on service earlier, not waiting until the last few days of their life,” Criswell said. “Because as I said, you’ve got this whole team to care for a patient and a family… take advantage of that. It’s their benefit to take advantage of that.”

Bennett says some of their patients even go on vacation while they’re in hospice. It’s part of the reason Criswell thinks families should think about their services sooner rather than later.