‘A huge blessing’: How Jimmy Carter is shedding light on hospice care

Former President Jimmy Carter is changing the conversation around hospice care.
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 7:19 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2023 at 9:46 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Former President Jimmy Carter is changing the conversation around hospice care.

Nearly eight months into receiving at-home care, he’s helping families better understand what it means to comfort ailing loved ones and recently celebrated a birthday.

At age 99, Americans are still learning from the 39th President even while he’s in hospice.

“He has single-handedly addressed one of the biggest myths out there in that it’s for the final days of a person’s life and it’s a place that you go,” said Capstone Hospice owner Hugh Henderson. “He’s at home and he’s been on hospice for over seven months.”

Henderson says hospice aims to offer comfort and extend the quality of life for patients often in their own homes through a team of nurses, social workers and volunteers providing personalized care.

“It has to be certified by a physician,” said Henderson.

According to the Georgia Department of Community Health:

“To be eligible for hospice care, your physicians expect you to have limited life expectancy of 6 months or less if your disease runs its usual course. Many patients receive hospice care and live much longer as a result, as treatment of the burdensome symptoms of illness have been shown to extend life.”

You can usually get hospice covered through Medicare.

“It was just unbelievable, a huge blessing,” said Lily McLeod.

She said hospice offered financial and physical relief needed to care for her mother who had dementia and battled Parkinson’s disease.

She says her mother passed away last year after several months on hospice.

“It’s where my dad and I wanted to have her, in her home where she had been for 30 years and we were thankfully able to find hospice when we were no longer to able to physically care for her.”

For many families, home care has been invaluable.

In May, Jason Carter shared an update on his grandfather, Jimmy Carter.

“I think it’s been gratifying for the whole family to see the outpouring of support over these last few months,” Jason Carter told Atlanta News First in May. “He has been able to experience it in some ways and it’s really been heartening to see the amount of love and respect that people around the world have had for him.”