Patient Referral

Letter: Carter's brave choice

Perry Farmer, Tulsa World

Former President Jimmy Carter recently announced he has started home hospice care after a series of hospital stays. As praise for the 39th president rolled in, so did questions about what this means.

While many believe hospice care is for patients in the final hours or days of life, that’s not always the case. It’s true that a prognosis of six months or less to live is a necessary part of the criteria, but that prognosis is based on the typical disease progression.

Hospice care is designed to provide quality-of-life care to support the patient for however long they have and if the physicians believe that the prognosis hasn’t changed.

Hospice is not a “place,” but rather a type of care that is delivered wherever the patient calls home, whether an assisted living facility, nursing home, or private residence.
Patients are visited by an interdisciplinary team of end-of-life-care professionals including nurses, aides, social workers, chaplains, volunteers, and bereavement coordinators. Any medication, medical equipment, and medical supplies are provided at no cost to the patient or their family.


Studies have shown multiple benefits to beginning hospice care early, including a higher quality of life, better pain management, and a higher likelihood to see end-of-life wishes fulfilled — particularly for those who began care at least 30 days before death.

It is our hope that Carter’s brave choice to share his journey will help demystify hospice care and encourage families to research the end-of-life resources available to them when the time comes.