Jimmy Carter Announces Home Hospice Care After Hospital Stays
Former President Jimmy Carter recently announced that he had started home hospice care after a series of short hospital stays. As praise for the 39th president rolled in, so did quite a few questions about what this means for the 98-year-old.
What is hospice care?
A statement from The Carter Center shared that Jimmy Carter “decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention.”
Hospice care is specialized care that focuses on quality of life for people diagnosed with a serious, life-limiting illness. A team of hospice care professionals manage symptoms, control pain, and support the patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
Does hospice care mean Jimmy Carter is dying?
Only Jimmy Carter's family and physicians know his current diagnosis and prognosis. That information has not been released to the public to protect the patient's privacy.
In order to be admitted to hospice care, a patient must meet certain criteria including being diagnosed with a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less to live if the illness follows its typical course. While many believe hospice care is for the final hours or days of life, studies have shown that patients and families who began hospice care earlier had a higher quality of life, better pain management, and were more likely to have their end-of-life wishes fulfilled – particularly those who began care at least 30 days before death.
Hospice care does not prolong life or hasten death. Instead, the hospice care team provides quality-of-life care to support the patient for however long they have.
What does hospice care include?
Jimmy Carter's hospice announcement expressed his desire to spend time at home with family while he can. Hospice care is delivered wherever the patient calls home. This can be an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or their own 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. In addition, any medication, medical equipment, and medical supplies related to the patient’s terminal illness are delivered to the patient’s residence and provided at no cost to the patient or their family.
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care provides care to patients and families facing terminal illness. To learn more about hospice care, please call 1-888-564-3405.
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