(Posted Nov. 10, 2016)
Aimee Blumenschein, hospice clinical coordinator for Loving Care Hospice and Home Health, shared a surprising statistic Nov. 7 as the Madison County commissioners declared November to be National Hospice Palliative Care Month.
“We are seeing younger and younger patients. We’ve served twice as many under the age of 50 as we did three years ago,” she said.
Three years ago, the number was 10; this year it is 20. The age range in this group is 23 to 50 years old. Loving Care admits approximately 250 patients of all ages each year between its Madison and Union county offices. The organization provides management of chronic symptoms and end-of-life hospice care.
Blumenschein said factors that could account for the larger number of younger patients include earlier awareness and detection of certain diseases and conditions, lifestyle choices, and more exposure to environmental causes.
A challenge some of these younger patients face, she said, is that they don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, which means they must pay for palliative and hospice care out-of-pocket. It’s one more stressor at an already difficult time, said Tiffaney Elrod, Loving Care’s marketing coordinator. For patients who cannot afford the care, whatever their situation, Loving Care covers the cost.
“We tell people, ‘We don’t want you to worry about how to pay for it,’ ” Elrod said.
Each year, Loving Care holds two dinner/auctions to raise money for just this purpose. The fall dinner is set for Nov. 11 at Tolles Career and Technical Center in Plain City. Der Dutchman is catering the meal. Over 100 items will be up for bid in the auction. Already, over 220 people have signed up to attend, and Elrod expects many more by Friday. Walk-ins are welcome. She said the event likely will raise over $20,000.
For more information about hospice care or the fall dinner and auction, call Loving Care Hospice at (740) 852-7755.