Former President Jimmy Carter has decided to “spend the rest of his time at home” and receive hospice care. The Carter Center announced on Saturday.
98-year-old Carter won A lot of health problems Over the past decade, including brain cancer, liver surgery and hip replacement surgery. Now the aging president is choosing to spend his final days at his home in Plains, Ga.
“After a series of brief hospital stays, former US President Jimmy Carter has decided to spend the rest of his time with his family and receive hospice care rather than further medical intervention,” the statement read. “He has the full support of his family and medical team. Carter’s family requests privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many fans.
Although hospice care is not uncommon in the US—in In 2018, 1.6 million patients were admittedAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Dr. Sunita Puri, director of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Chan School of Medicine and author “That Good Night: Life and Medicine at the Eleventh Hour.” He told Yahoo News that hospice care is often misunderstood.
“I think this is a false dichotomy between medical intervention and hospice care, and it’s really a continuum of care,” Puri explained.
Puri spoke with Yahoo News to help end hospice and hospice care. Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Yahoo News: What is Hospice Care?
Dr. Sunita Puri: I like to think of it as deep comfort focused care. It aims to reduce the physical, emotional and spiritual suffering experienced by patients and their families when a person is six months old or less. Hospice can be provided in the home, which is where most hospice care takes place, but it can also be provided in a nursing facility and sometimes in a stand-alone hospice facility.
One thing that is very important for people to know is that hospice care is medical care. This is a medical intervention, and it takes into account the general condition of a person with a serious illness and the suffering associated with it.
How do a patient (or their family) and doctors decide to start hospice care?
This is usually a discussion between doctors and their patients and their families based on two factors. One, as we approach the point where options to treat the underlying disease do not work or there are no other options left to treat the underlying disease, people begin to focus on treating the symptoms rather than focusing on the disease. Also, at any point in their illness, a patient may say, “I understand that there are more treatment options available, but my goal is to focus on living well and keeping my symptoms under control for as long as I have them. Living.” So there’s a conversation about prognosis or life expectancy, which is part of it, but other interwoven elements are about suffering, quality of life, and how one wants to spend one’s time.
Who provides hospice care?
Hospice care is often provided by agencies. For example, I work in a system where we don’t have our own hospice agency, so it’s very common for your primary care team to refer you to another organization that offers hospice. Doctors, nurses, spiritual care providers, and social workers are available, depending on the agency and the patient’s needs.
What happens during hospice care?
When you start receiving hospice services, there is a team that visits your home, and usually the nurse is the face of the hospice team. So the nurse visits him, assesses how a person feels about pain or nausea, shortness of breath or other sources of pain. The nurse talks with the patient and family about other issues in their emotional and spiritual state.
A physician oversees the overall plan of care and ensures that the correct medications are being prescribed and that medication changes are being made when someone needs more than we currently provide. As the team moves through this process, they talk about ways to meet the individual needs and goals of patients and families. Hospice is a very iterative process and a team effort, so whether we start in terms of managing pain or supporting the patient, it changes a lot when someone is sick.
How long does hospice care last?
Hospice is technically six months or less, but the average hospice stay in the US is about three weeks. And I think that’s sad, because it says that we have a very difficult time talking about these topics—like pain, quality of life, whether certain treatments are really adding to or taking away from someone’s life experience. And because those conversations can be delayed, we have a situation where people are sent to hospice too late. So that statistic has always been very interesting to me, and not surprising.
What is important for people to know about hospice care?
It’s not giving up hospice or throwing in the towel or losing a fight or whatever. Hospice is about acknowledging where your body is, at its stage of illness, and honoring that and honoring the person who is different from the illness you are suffering from.
I think it’s important for people to know that hospice is a very comprehensive, humane plan of care and service that tries to maximize dignity and minimize suffering when you’re living with a disease we can’t cure. And most illnesses are incurable, so thinking about when you want to transition from treatments that are meant to prolong life, to treatments that are meant to improve the quality of your life, is something I always encourage people to think about. During a serious examination.
I think it’s really important for people to know that hospice care is focused on the needs of the patient and their family and what is most important and valuable to them and what their goals are for their time on earth.