Sentara gives insight into hospice amid President Carter’s care

Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 11:26 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Earlier this week, it was announced that former President Jimmy Carter would be receiving hospice care from his home in Georgia.

“Now he and his family are going to have the support that they need to help him through this phase of his life which in my view is one of the most important phases of our life,” Dr. Jerry McQuain, medical director of hospice services for Sentara said.

Dr. McQuain said the response to President Carter entering hospice was 50/50.

“We need to change that narrative from hospice is a place where you go to die to hospice is a place where you go because you may pass away in the next 6 months to a year,” he said.

In Virginia, Dr. McQuain added hospice care could be utilized much more.

“Virginia, out of 52 states as of 2022, we ranked number 31 for hospice utilization. Number one would be the highest utilization which is Utah number 52 would be the lowest utilization,” he said.

Dr. McQuain said the median stay in hospice is 18 days.

“People live longer with hospice care than they do without hospice care when they’re connected early on in the course of their illness,” he said.

Dr. McQuain said hospice care is strictly focused on the individual and creating the best quality of life possible.

“After the individual dies and that extends beyond the date of their death for about 13 months,” he said.

After a few brief hospital stays, former president Jimmy Carter decided to receive hospice care at his home six days ago.

There have been no further updates to his condition as of Friday.