National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is celebrated every November. During this month of reflection on the importance of end-of-life care, Enclara Pharmacia continues to raise awareness of the benefits of hospice and palliative care, as well as provide recognition and appreciation to devoted hospice community professionals.
The hospice and palliative care community fosters high-quality care that helps patients and their families focus on quality of life, while facing a life limiting illness. While many people only consider hospice care in the final days of life, hospice is ideally suited to care for those within their final months of life. Specialized interdisciplinary teams comprised of nurses, social workers, volunteers, and chaplains support the patient and their family with pain and symptom management, psychosocial support, and spiritual care.
Each year the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) encourages the hospice and palliative care community to come together, through a specific industry theme, to help raise additional awareness on hospice and palliative care topics. This year’s theme — My Hospice: A Program that Works. A Benefit that Matters — showcases the history of the hospice program in the U.S. and highlights the value it brings to patients, caregivers, and healthcare overall.
Did You Know?
Hospice launched in the 1970s and has grown to now be fully covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans and HMOs. Today, it is an integral part of our healthcare system with nearly 1.4 million patients receiving hospice care in the U.S. annually.
Each year, NHPCO offers a snapshot of hospice care with representative statistics from the current edition of its report. The most current edition of Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America highlight’s hospice use in the United States:
- 48 percent of Medicare decedents were enrolled in hospice at the time of death (in 2016).
- Median length of service was 24 days.
- 5 percent of patients received care for 90 days or less, while those receiving care for more than 180 days accounted for 13.6 percent.
- Cancer was the most common principle diagnosis, accounting for 27.2 percent of patients; increasing among the patient populations is a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia, which accounts for 18 percent.
- 98 percent of care was provided at the Routine Home Care level.
Supporting the Hospice Community
For over 20 years, Enclara Pharmacia has continued to enhance patient care and financial outcomes for hospices through comprehensive medication access solutions, innovative technology, clinical resources, and exemplary support and service. Our focus is to deliver the best nurse, executive, and patient experience possible.
Enclara provides hospice and palliative support for over 90,000 patients per day while regularly supporting numerous national and state organizations, including NHPCO, National Partnership for Hospice Innovation (NPHI), Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) and National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). Our involvement with these organizations serves as a vital avenue to connect and engage with the community across the country. Our clinical team regularly shares insight and expertise at national and state conferences through presentations and panel discussions to help support the continuing education of professionals throughout the community.
Our Clinical Management teams of dedicated pharmacists work with each individual Enclara hospice partner to create a strategic plan to enhance patient care, lead quality improvement projects, and create educational programs specific to the needs of each individual hospice. While our call center staffed by hospice and palliative care pharmacists carefully review the needs of patients to ensure quality care – providing clinical insights, processing prescriptions, and consistent service.
Moreover, Enclara is committed to advocating for the hospice community with the needs of caregivers and patients in mind. Our team takes an active role in participating at state and federal levels to advocate for hospice and palliative care patients to ensure they have timely medication access. By working in conjunction with other organizations, Enclara’s active involvement helps to ensure the needs of the hospice and palliative care community are considered during pending legislation and regulatory discussions.
Enclara recently inaugurated an Opioid Stewardship Program to provide our partners with policies and procedures, risk assessments and training for clinicians, as well as education and other resources for patients and caregivers. The program includes an Opioid Task Force where our hospice partners promote best practices, discuss challenges, and share strategies to prevent the misuse of opioids.
Finally, Enclara offers the Palliative Pearls Newsletter, a free monthly newsletter for hospice and palliative care professionals delivering clinical insights and industry news to keep our subscribers informed and engaged.
It takes an incredible amount of dedication, compassion and kindness to provide the care and support that hospice patients require at the end of life. We, at Enclara, are constantly inspired and motivated by these compassionate individuals and extend a large, “thank you” this month and every month of the year!
Want to Know More?
To learn more about the hospice and palliative care community or to explore additional ways to get involved, please visit the following sites: