In my last post I said, “It is not an overstatement to say that we are reaching the goal of changing the way our nation views and faces the end of life.” Now, I have proof.
The Beloit College Mindset List, which is “a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college”, has provided me with my proof. I found the list very interesting since it is full of pearls of wisdom such as, “For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.” If you want to feel old, you should read the whole list.
The part that makes this list news on hospice blog is that the list reports that, “All have had a relative–or known about a friend’s relative–who died comfortably at home with Hospice.” Think about that for a moment – according to this list, every incoming college freshman this year has either had a personal hospice experience or has a friend that has. Every college freshman has somewhere in their mind that dying at home with hospice is at least an option and may even think it is the norm. We’ve come a long way baby!
This revelation puts into focus the fact that the hospice movement has accomplished its biggest goal. There is no turning back. Dying at home is part of the American experience. Our focus now must be on the dying comfortably at home part, and that is why I’ve been on my soapbox about how all hospices must start preparing for the government (our largest payor source) to treat us like a business. The “hospice movement” has accomplished its goal. We are now just hospice – not a movement. We cost Medicare quite a bit of money. (We also save them quite a bit, but that’s beside the point here.) The American people now expect us to be here. The newness is wearing off. All of this is something to celebrate, and something that the hospice pioneers should feel an immense amount of pride about.
We’ve arrived! Now we must fight to keep this movement from becoming just another method of healthcare delivery. Is our next generation of hospice leaders ready to step up to that challenge?
(Once again thanks to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization for bringing the Beloit College Mindset List to the attention of me and all of their members.)