For Immediate Release:
November 1, 2019

Whereas, hospice and palliative care is a specialized form of healthcare for people with serious and life-limiting illnesses.  Provided by an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, allied therapists, psychological and spiritual counselors, and trained community volunteers, hospice and palliative care is person-centered, individualized treatment to accommodate the needs and wishes of a patient and their family.  At the center of hospice and palliative care is the belief that each of us has the right to live and die pain-free and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.

Whereas, the Medicare Hospice Benefit was signed into law in 1982, and now almost 1.5 million Americans are served by hospice annually. Hospices operate in all 50 states, and there are over 4,500 Medicare-certified hospices nationwide.  Perhaps most importantly, hospice care is available to all Medicare Beneficiaries in their homes or place of residence, and provides care not only for the patient, but also for their families during the illness and after, helping them cope with the grief of losing a loved one.

Whereas, palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness, focusing on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness and to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family. It is similar to hospice care, in that it is a person-centered, interdisciplinary approach to treating serious illness. But there remains a great need to increase public awareness about the benefits of hospice and palliative care, and to assure access to all Americans regardless of their diagnosis, prognosis, or place of residence.

Whereas, all American patients and their caregivers deserve access to the important care and support that hospice and palliative care provide.  Unfortunately, just as the baby boomer generation is reaching their senior years, the hospice and palliative care workforce is struggling to keep up with demand.  If action is not taken, there will be only one physician for every 26,000 seriously ill patients by 2030.

Whereas, during this National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization urges all Americans to not only explore the benefits of hospice and palliative care for themselves and their families, but also to salute the important work that hospice and palliative care providers and volunteers do to protect the dignity of human life, support the courageous caregivers, and help grieving Americans cope with the loss of a loved one.

Whereas, the members of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization urge Congress to ensure a strong American healthcare workforce to address the needs of aging baby boomers and Americans facing serious illness and the end of life.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Board of Directors of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization so hereby proclaim November 2019 as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. NHPCO urges all government agencies, the healthcare community, appropriate private organizations, and the people of the United States to observe the month of November with appropriate programs and activities to raise awareness, recognize, and support hospice and palliative care.

Board of Directors
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
October 31, 2019