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Many Americans with dementia can’t get the hospice care they need

Many Americans with dementia can’t get the hospice care they need

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter have drawn attention to the benefits of hospice care. But it’s not serving everyone well. By Keren Landman@landmanspeaking

Rosalynn Carter, whose unflagging advocacy for mental health reform and on behalf of human rights, democracy, and health programs redefined the role of a president’s wife, died on November 19 at age 96.

Half a year earlier, her family had shared publicly that Rosalynn had been diagnosed with dementia. She began receiving hospice care — i.e., end-of-life comfort care for patients and caregivers — at home in Plains, Georgia, two days before her death and died there peacefully.

Her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, also opted to receive hospice care nine months ago after multiple medical problems landed him in and out of the hospital. Although his family thought he was in his last days when he made the choice, he has surpassed expectations. “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” he said in a statement on the day of her death.