A Call to Do More: World Hospice and Palliative Care Day
Today is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day – a day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. This year’s theme is Hidden Lives/Hidden Patients, which focuses on patients living in unique conditions that often struggle with access to palliative care including children, the LGBT community, soldiers and those in rural areas.
According to the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance, 42 percent of the world has no delivery system for palliative care services, and in 32 percent, service delivery reaches only a small percentage of the population.
The goal of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is to change these numbers and raise awareness and understanding of the medical, social, practical and spiritual needs of people living with terminal illness and their families.
Crossroads Hospice President Perry Farmer frequently speaks about the first time he was asked to provide care to a pediatric patient. Providing care to children with a terminal illness is heartbreaking, but we do it because we are committed to the idea that everyone deserves comfort care in the location of their choice – whether that is a hospital, assisted living facility or their own home.
In 2013, Crossroads Hospice was caring for patient Jim Obergefell when we approached him about a Gift of a Day. The Gift of a Day program ask patients what they would do if they could have one perfect day. For Jim and his partner John Arthur, the answer was easy: they would get married. But getting married wasn’t going to be easy. Jim had end-stage ALS and his state didn’t allow same-sex marriage.
Crossroads Hospice assisted with the medical logistics to enable the couple to travel to Maryland for an airport wedding ceremony. The case later led to a historic Supreme Court Case: Obergefell v. Hodges.
In each of these cases, Crossroads was asked to assist in the care of patients that other hospice service providers may have turned away due to inexperience or discrimination. At Crossroads, we’re committed to providing care to all eligible patients regardless of age, race, religion, disease, gender or sexuality.
For us, two principles guide our decisions:
- No one should die alone.
- No one should die in pain.
On World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, we hope that hospice and palliative care becomes available worldwide to those who need it – in particular those hidden patients who currently lack access to the care that should be available to all.
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