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McGovern's End-of-Life Care a Reminder of Hospice's Extensive Reach in U.S.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- George McGovern, former Senator from South Dakota and former presidential candidate, is receiving hospice care, his family announced. McGovern's care is a reminder of the important services hospice care provides.

"When a public figure receives care from a hospice, the public often hears about it," said Amy Tucci, president and CEO of Hospice Foundation of America. "What most people don't know is that more than a third of all people dying in the U.S. today are in the care of hospice."

There are now more than 4,000 hospice providers in the U.S., a striking contrast from 1972, when McGovern made his presidential bid against Richard Nixon. Today, more than a million individuals* with a wide range of life-limiting diagnoses die in the care of hospice each year. 

"The first hospice in the United States was not founded until 1974; thanks to the foresight of Congress, the Medicare benefit began almost a decade later," Tucci said. "Today small hospices serve communities and large hospices provide services nationally, but the concept of care, to manage pain and symptoms, and to provide emotional and spiritual support, has remained constant."

Hospice Foundation of America provides facts and resources to help families who are struggling with decisions surrounding end-of-life care. To learn more about hospice care, visit www.hospicefoundation.org, or call 800-854-3402.

  • Hospice provides comfort and support when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments.
  • Individuals with a wide range of diagnoses are eligible for hospice care, including heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, COPD, and ALS.
  • Hospice care neither prolongs life nor hastens death.
  • Hospice care is most often provided at home, where most people say they want to die.
  • Hospice care is provided by a team-oriented group of specially trained professionals, volunteers and family.
  • Hospice addresses all symptoms, with a special emphasis on controlling pain.
  • Hospice deals with the emotional, social and spiritual impact of the disease.  
  • Hospice offers a variety of bereavement and counseling services before and after a death.

*1,029,000 people in the U.S. died in hospice care in 2010, according the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. There were 2,452,000 total deaths in the U.S. in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which means that 41.9 percent of all U.S. deaths occurred in hospice.

SOURCE Hospice Foundation of America

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