I’m writing to thank U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson for being the first South Carolinian to co-sponsor the new Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act. I would also like to ask Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott to follow suit, as palliative and hospice care can improve the quality of life for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, as well as cutting costs.
Nearly one in five people living with dementia are in hospice care. Dementia patients who reside in nursing homes and receive palliative care are less likely to be hospitalized in the last 30 days of life or visit the emergency room in the last week of life.
However, fewer than half of nursing homes report having palliative care programs, and only 42 percent of those that do include a consultation by a certified hospice/palliative care doctor.
It’s time to step up.