President Carter Decides to Receive Home Hospice Care

February 21, 2023, Hospice

President Carter Decides to Receive Home Hospice Care

Consistent with his lifelong commitment to serving others, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter shared with the world in recent days his decision to receive home hospice care instead of additional medical intervention.

On February 18, 2023, the president’s foundation, The Carter Center, issued the following statement:

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, 2014 | Photo Credit: LBJ Library

“After a series of short hospital stays, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter today decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention. He has the full support of his family and his medical team. The Carter family asks for the privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.”

The statement does not provide details about his medical condition. Nor does it explain why the Carter family and foundation elected to share this information publicly. However, the decision very clearly serves the public interest. Why?

Numerous surveys have found there is a widespread lack of awareness in our country about what hospice is and how it benefits patients and their loved ones. This unfamiliarity results in low utilization rates of hospice.

For example, less than half of all Medicare recipients who died in 2020 (47.8 percent) received one day or more of hospice care, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Medicare covers up to 180 days of hospice care for all recipients.

Unfortunately, this percentage has been nearly static in recent years:

  • 2019: 51.6 percent
  • 2018: 50.6 percent
  • 2017: 49.8 percent
  • 2016: 49.7 percent

But there is reason for optimism. The more people who learn about hospice, the more likely they are to use and recommend it. For instance, 87 percent of participants in a 2021 study by the Hospice & Palliative Care Network of Maryland said they were “most likely” or “likely” to share hospice information with family or friends after they received instruction about the service.

President Carter’s announcement has generated considerable media coverage that is likely to raise awareness for hospice and may help to ease the trepidation some have about it.

Hospice is the model for high-quality compassionate care for people with terminal illness. It’s for people who want to focus on comfort and living every moment as best as they can for as long as they can even when faced with an incurable disease. Hospice is appropriate for many patients with advanced illness who are focused on comfort over cure, Gilchrist’s chief medical officer, Dr. Mark J. Gloth, explains.

Like people across the country and around the world, we at Gilchrist extend our warmest wishes to President Carter. And we thank him for his decades of service and his commitment to, in the words of his foundation, “waging peace, fighting disease, and building.”

To learn more about hospice, please visit us here.

Header Banner Photo Credit: The Carter Center

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