Press Release from NHPCO on the Impact of Hospice Care in America

For Immediate Release
July 26, 2011

Hospice Care Wins Modern Healthcare’s Big Impact Tournament

Win Affirms All That Hospice Care has Contributed to Healthcare

(Alexandria, Va) –From a field that began with 64 contestants in four major categories – People, Companies, Innovations, and Events – Hospice Care won Modern Healthcare’s Big Impact Tournament. Hospice Care defeated the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in the final round by a nearly 3-to-1 margin as having had the biggest impact on the healthcare delivery system over the past 35 years.

“Much of what now is considered integral to quality healthcare has roots that can be traced back to hospice,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. “It is heartening to see that the readers of Modern Healthcare recognize the innovative contributions of hospice during a time when reducing hospital readmissions, medical home and other hallmarks of quality are being discussed as essential elements of quality, cost-effective care.”

Innovations that are hallmarks of hospice care include:

  • Patient-centered care – focusing on the wishes and priorities of those being cared for;
  • Home and community-based care – empowering patients to receive care at home, nursing homes, assisted living and other settings;
  • Family caregivers – supporting families and teaching them to care for their loved ones at home;
  • Interdisciplinary, holistic care – delivering care and services that focus on pain management, symptom control, psychosocial and spiritual support;

Hospice began as a volunteer-driven, grassroots movement in the US in the late 1970s. Today, hospice is an integral part of the healthcare landscape that cares for more than 1.5 million patients every year.

“Innovation never stops within the hospice field with many hospice organizations working to develop the continuum of care that builds on the many benefits of hospice and would bring more seamless care delivery to all individuals facing serious and life-limiting illness,” Schumacher added. “For three decades hospices have been the largest providers of palliative care, and today, more and more providers are building upon the innovations of hospices to develop hospital-based palliative care programs, transition programs, PACE services and more.”

In the tournament, hospice received more votes than such contenders as electronic health records, patient safety advocacy, and clinical and financial performance transparency. For the complete results, visit


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