Edelman helps hospice group open the end-of-life discussion

ALEXANDRIA, VA: Matt Lauer, the affable host of NBC's Today show, will be the face of a three-year, dollars 3 million PR campaign to promote hospices as a viable option for people facing the end of life.

ALEXANDRIA, VA: Matt Lauer, the affable host of NBC's Today show, will be the face of a three-year, dollars 3 million PR campaign to promote hospices as a viable option for people facing the end of life.

ALEXANDRIA, VA: Matt Lauer, the affable host of NBC's Today show, will be the face of a three-year, dollars 3 million PR campaign to promote hospices as a viable option for people facing the end of life.

The goal of the campaign, which launches next month, is to break down the perceptual barriers that inhibit terminally ill patients from receiving the care they desire. The effort was initiated by the National Hospice Foundation (NHF) with assistance from Edelman Public Relations Worldwide.

The campaign's centerpiece is a pair of emotion-packed PSAs built around the tagline: 'Hospice Care: Comfort and Compassion When It's Needed Most.' The PSAs are designed to lead patients and their families to the NHF web site or local hospices to receive more information about such care.

In Lauer's PSA, he expresses gratitude for the attention his dying father had received from hospice care. 'He did not suffer. And I think that that was in large part due to the efforts of the hospice workers,' he emphasizes.

The second PSA features a woman discussing how her father, a World War II veteran, had vowed not to die in battle, and similarly made up his mind not to die in a cold, antiseptic hospital, but at home.

NHF spokesperson Dick Bartley explained that the genesis for the campaign came from research conducted last year by the firm T. Baugh for the NHF.

The study showed that 75% of Americans have never taken the time to articulate their wishes about end-of-life care, and 50% want their friends and family to carry out their wishes should they become terminally ill.

'There's an obvious communications gap between what people want at the end of life and what they're willing to discuss with their families,' said Bartley. 'We want to make that conversation easier.'

Eighty percent did not even know that hospice care was an option for end-of-life care and even larger numbers did not know that Medicare was able to cover hospice care costs and that hospices provide pain relief for the terminally ill.



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