Mileage Study Press Conference Highlights: Mark Begich on the Foundation’s Role in Conducting Research and Surveys
February 5, 2016 03:25 PM
On December 16, 2015, the Foundation for Hospice and Homecare and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) held a press conference (see previous NAHC Report article here) to present the findings of a study documenting that nurses, therapists and home care aides who serve chronically ill, elderly and disabled patients drive nearly 8 billion miles each year. The press conference included remarks from a number of experts in the home care and hospice community, and NAHC Report is publishing a series of articles providing in-depth coverage of their remarks.
When former Senator Mark Begich joined NAHC and the Foundation for Hospice and Homecare last year, NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris welcomed him by saying, “Senator Begich is one of the brightest, most creative and caring people that I have ever met. He has lived his life in accordance with very high values. He has fought for the ill, elderly, and disabled persons all of his life.”
Senator Begich spoke at the press conference in his role as President and CEO of the Foundation, which partnered with NAHC to sponsor the mileage study. Begich explained that the Foundation works to advance the practice of high “quality home care and hospice”; expand availability and increase public awareness of these vital services through education; develop certification and accreditation standards; develop home care and hospice quality standards; strengthen and encourage the conduct of ethical standards in delivering home care and hospice services; as well as conduct research and public relations.
Begich said the mileage study is one example of the research supported by the Foundation. “When you think of these numbers, it’s amazing,” Begich said, referring to the study’s finding that home care and hospice nurses travel nearly 8 billion miles each year.
“What’s happening is patients, families are making choices of where they want to get their care, and in the home is where they want to get it,” he said.
Begich explained that one of the takeaways from the study is that home care and hospice is a “fast-growing service that has a lot of challenges,” including the recruitment and training of nurses and personal care assistants to meet the growing demand.
In representing Alaska in the United States Senate, Begich said he learned about the distances and terrain traveled by home care and hospice nurses. “When 80 percent of the state is not accessible by roads, it means that the home care providers have to fly or, in some cases, dog sled depending on where they are and the time of year.” They go to such great lengths, he said, because “delivering the service is critical.”
To view the final study, click here.
Video footage of the press conference is currently available on the NAHC website (www.nahc.org).