The first hospice services developed in this country were generally not in medical settings but were trained volunteers providing emotional support to the dying individual and their family. Health insurance didn't reimburse for this type on non medical service. This was the way that hospice services started in Howard County in the 1980's. Hospice Services of Howard County was an organization that used primarily volunteers supervised by Elaine Patico, the Executive Director.
What changed this service was that Medicare starting to fund hospice services that were provided within a health care setting. This has pushed private health insurers to also pay for hospice services and suddenly hospice services moved from trained volunteers to paid professionals. While much of hospice services are still provided in home many hospice programs have affiliated with medical facilities to provide an inpatient component.
I had a personal experience with hospice services this past December with my Father. Entering the hospital with pneumonia after Thanksgiving and not responding to treatment the recommendation was to move him to hospice care. Even though this was provided in a hospital setting it was the appropriate way for him to live his final few days. While a difficult process to experience the way the hospice nurses, social workers and chaplain supported my family was wonderful. I was glad that this was available to us at that time.
As they describe their services:
This Sunday 2:30 p.m. the Howard County Historical Society is hosting a program at the Miller Library "NEW THOUGHTS ON OLD THINGS: A Preliminary Reassessment of Howard County’s Historic Architecture PART 2 ”
Join them for the second half of this very popular illustrated lecture and discussion about Howard County's historical architectural gems presented by Howard County's pre-eminent Architectural Historian, Ken Short. Free and open to the public but small donations are very much appreciated.