A bill was recently introduced in the Senate that seeks to supply resources and training in Hospice and palliative care, which is becoming an urgent need. This bill has already been introduced in Congress and enjoys a bipartisan sponsorship. 

Hospice care – a continually growing industry

A 2018 study found that there are currently 13 hospice care specialists for every 100,000 people over the age of 65. The number varies greatly in different parts of the country. Their data shows that by the year 2040, the expected need will be from 10,640 to 24,000 specialists, with a probable reality of 8,100 to 19,000. 

Their investigations showed that there is currently not enough training to keep up with the demand for hospice care specialists. There are currently 325 doctors that graduate from hospice care fellowships annually, and there need to be between 500 and 600 by the year 2030 to meet the eventual demand. 

In addition, there are shortages of trained hospice workers in other disciplines, such as nursing and social work, and these professions need hospice and palliative training as well. If training does not keep up with demand, millions of people may suffer needlessly, and miss out on the benefits of hospice care and palliative care.

A bipartisan bill for hospice care education

The new bill in the Senate is being introduced by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and enjoys the co-sponsorship of Sens. Angus King (I-Maine), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.). It was introduced into the house in April, where it is under review in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

This bill has several elements, which seek to make a strong impact on the public both in the form of receiving care and changing our perception of it. One is creating new fellowship programs in hospice and palliative care educational centers for doctors to receive intensive training. These centers would also create programs geared toward nurses, social workers, and other clinical professionals who could benefit from extra training. A third part is creating a curriculum for continuing education for physicians and clinicians in the field.

Senator Baldwin said in a statement that this is an issue close to her heart: “I was raised by my maternal grandparents and later served as my grandmother’s primary caregiver as she grew older, so this issue is personal to me, and I want to make a difference for families experiencing serious health concerns.” 

Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) also gives grants to hospitals to develop hospice care training and supports the development of further hospice and palliative training for nurses. 

Another element of the bill guides the National Institutes of Health to fund more research on hospice and palliative care and to create public awareness programs to educate the population about its benefits.

At Hudson View Center for Rehabilitation in Bergen County, New Jersey, we offer caring and expert hospice care for patients at this time of life. Our staff is well-trained in providing comfort and ensuring the patient’s quality of life.

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