National Hospice & Palliative Care Month: Date, Activities & Gift Ideas

Updated

Hospice and palliative care professionals have some of the most impactful careers in healthcare. At the same time, these caregivers also have some of the most emotionally demanding jobs. 

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National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is our yearly time to give appreciation and gratitude to the generous caregivers in our lives. Whether you have a family living in hospice or palliative care, or you work with hospice care providers, it’s the perfect chance to give thanks. 

When is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month?

National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is the month of November every year. The month of commemoration may be confusing, with World Hospice and Palliative Care Day taking place annually on October 10. But the entire month of November is our time to celebrate hospice and palliative care workers who serve our nation. 

Additionally, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is the perfect time to learn more about hospice care. If you’re appreciative of the hospice care providers in your life, it’s your opportunity to spread awareness of the work they do. 

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What is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month?

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, nearly 1.5 million Americans receive hospice care every year. Hospice care exists in all 50 states, and it’s available to all Medicare beneficiaries in their own homes.

Hospice and palliative care providers not only care for patients who are seriously ill or at the end of their lives. They also provide much-needed support and care for the families during a time of grief. 

National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is an important time for commemorating hospice care and palliative care workers and professionals. It’s also a crucial opportunity for educating the public about hospice and palliative care.  

History of NHPC Month

National Hospice and Palliative Care Month first came into existence in 1978, when then-President Jimmy Carter announced the month of observance. 

Back then, the number of patients who received hospice and palliative care in the United States was still in the thousands. Now, there are about 1.5 hospice and palliative care patients every year. 

How to celebrate

Hospice care and palliative care still receive limited public awareness, which means many Americans aren’t aware of the benefits hospice caregivers provide. That lack of awareness also means a lack of appreciation for the hard work hospice caregivers provide each and every day. 

This National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, you can celebrate by showing your appreciation for the hospice and palliative care providers you know. Additionally, it’s important to take some time to learn about hospice and palliative care, as well as help inform others. 

National Hospice and Palliative Care Month Activity Ideas

If you want to celebrate National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, but you’re not sure where to begin, consider the ideas below. 

Spread awareness. 

Spreading awareness about National Hospice and Palliative Care Month can be as easy as talking to your family and friends. Let them know it’s coming up so that they can learn about hospice care and show appreciation to any hospice care providers they may know. 

You can go a step further by sharing the date on social media, and inviting your friends to share stories about how hospice and palliative care professionals impacted their lives. 

Learn about hospice and palliative care

It’s hard to spread awareness or show appreciation if you don’t know all that hospice care and palliative care entails. National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is the perfect time to brush up on all of the crucial services these professionals provide. 

We’ll help get you started in learning more about hospice and palliative care: 

Create an end-of-life plan

A hospice care professional’s job is often made even harder by the lack of an end-of-life plan. Family members often argue about what should happen with their loved one’s care as they approach the end of life. 

During the month of November, you can show appreciation for hospice care providers by making their job that much easier. Create an end-of-life plan that directly specifies how you want your care managed. You can even urge family members to do the same. 

Donate to the cause

The National Hospice Foundation is consistently working towards better, more available hospice and palliative care nationwide. You can help them in their cause by making a donation, no matter how small. 

If you’d like to make the donation even more special, you could make it in honor of a hospice worker in your life. 

National Hospice and Palliative Care Gift Ideas

In addition to celebrating National Hospice and Palliative Care Month in the ways listed above, you can also show your appreciation on a more personal level. Consider some of these gift ideas if you want to thank your hospice care or palliative care professional. 

Keep in mind that some medical agencies don’t allow staff to accept gifts, so you may need to check the rules. 

Simple jewelry

Hospice and palliative care professionals have to dress plainly for work. Whether they work in their patients’ homes or at a care center, they often have a simple uniform to wear each day. 

You can help a hospice care or palliative care provider express their individuality with a simple necklace. You can even find inexpensive jewelry that’s made specifically for caregivers. 

Books about hospice

Hospice and palliative care are tiring work, mentally, emotionally, and physically. When a caregiver gets home, they might want to unwind with a book that makes them feel well-understood. 

A book about hospice care or palliative care will help the caregiver know they’re not alone in their daily struggles. It’ll also give them the opportunity to continue their education in hospice care and re-up for the next day’s work. 

Hospice care pin

As an alternative to jewelry, you could give the gift of a hospice care or palliative care pin. A pin is a low-cost gift, but one that can be meaningful, too.

A lower-cost gift like a pin might also be more permissible if an employer doesn’t allow higher-priced gifts. 

Flower arrangement

A classic gift, a flower arrangement can quickly show how much you appreciate the hospice care or palliative caregiver in your life. 

If the hospice caregiver works in a care center, you should make sure that flowers are allowed. They might not be the best gift if the care center is small or already crowded. But if the caregiver works in a patient’s home, a thoughtful flower arrangement could be a perfect gift. 

Heartfelt thank you

The best gifts for showing appreciation are often low-cost or even free. For National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, a hand-written “thank you” note or card could be the perfect, simple gift. Additionally, it may help you circumvent any “no-gift” rules you run into.

Celebrating National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

Hospice and palliative care professionals are an essential part of our healthcare system. They provide much-needed support at the end of life and for serious illnesses. 

Unfortunately, hospice and palliative caregivers’ work is often overlooked. And as the national elderly population grows, those professional caregivers are going to be even more important. 

This November, you can support the hospice care workers in your area by celebrating National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Give a gift to a hospice care worker you know, or simply take the opportunity to learn more about the profession and spread awareness. 

If you want to learn more about special days that celebrate advance care planning, read our guide on Long-Term Care Planning Month.


Sources 

  1. “National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, 209: A Proclamation.” News from NHPCO. National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. www.nhpco.org/national-hospice-and-palliative-care-month-2019-a-proclamation
  2. “National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.” Hospice of Michigan. www.hom.org/hospice-month/
  3. “Health Observance Dates.” NHPCO. www.nhpco.org/resources/community-outreach-tools/community-outreach-tools-health-observance-dates

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