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U.S. Celebrates National Home Care and Hospice Month in November
Date:10/22/2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Val J. Halamandaris, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), today called on all Americans to commemorate the power of caring, both at home and in their local communities, by celebrating November as National Home Care and Hospice Month.

"It is highly appropriate that we take a few minutes of our day to celebrate the nurses, therapists, aides and other providers who have chosen to use their lives to help infirm, disabled and dying Americans. No work is nobler and no group in our society more deserves our respect and admiration," Halamandaris said.

Halamandaris commended the U.S. Supreme Court for its 1999 Olmstead decision which declared a Constitutional right for all Americans to be cared for in the least restrictive environment -- in their homes. He also lauded the National Governors Association that declared in 2004 that long-term care is the greatest problem facing America and that home care is the best solution to the problem. In addition to these forces, he said that growth in the use of home care is being driven by demographics, the graying of America, the advancement of technology, its cost-effectiveness as compared with other forms of care and personal choice.

He pointed out that home care is not just for the elderly but has comparable importance to young and middle-aged Americans -- especially chronically ill and disabled children.

"Seventy-eight million Baby Boomers will soon hit retirement age, and a large percentage of them will begin to need help to remain independent in their own homes," said Halamandaris. "At this point, there is no Federal program that helps much with these needs, which also affect as many as eight million more persons with disabilities who are younger than age 65. The needs are vast, and we don't have anywhere near the number of people providing home care services that we need."

"Home care is the preferred form of health care for millions of Americans as they go through their lives. Even when the end is near, most Americans appreciate the love and care which is so graciously given by the angels of hospice. Let us take time to celebrate the good that these special people do in the world," Halamandaris said.

Halamandaris took the opportunity to laud the technological advances being made in health care.

"Increasingly, we will be relying on these innovations, not only to use precious human resources more effectively, but also to help improve the outcomes of home care services," he said. "Tomorrow's leaders in providing services in the home are investing in technologies today and integrating them into their patterns of practice."

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice represents the interests of nearly 25,000 home health agencies, home care aide organizations and hospices as well as the caregivers that provide services to more than seven million Americans each year. NAHC members believe that quality home care and hospice, a humane and cost-effective alternative to institutionalization, is the right of all Americans. Home care and hospice provide important skilled nursing, therapy, supportive services and self-care training and work in concert with the care provided by family members and friends. Home care encourages maximum independence of thought and functioning as well as the preservation of human dignity. Visit NAHC's Web site at http://www.nahc.org.


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SOURCE National Association for Home Care & Hospice
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