Melodie Edwards

These days, most rural communities in the U.S. are elderly communities. 15 percent of Wyoming’s population is over 65 and a high percentage of them live on ranches and in small towns. But with younger generations leaving the ranch for more urban jobs, there are few staying behind to take care of their elders. They could move to nursing homes, but many of Wyoming’s seniors are often insistent--they want to stay home, even if it means a snowmobile ride out in the winter.

Miles Bryan

If you receive hospice end of life care in the United States it probably comes to you. Nationally about 60% of hospice care is administered at the patient’s home, or in a nursing home. Only about 7% receive care in a facility designed specifically for hospice patients. But in Wyoming, that number is closer to 30%--and its growing.

In seems that most people are afraid of a Hospice.  Statistics show that if they are used, people will wait until the final days of someone’s life until they are called upon.   But those who run Wyoming’s 18 Hospices would like to change that.   Hospice care is a less expensive option than a nursing home or hospital that is focused on helping the patient die with dignity while also healing the family.  Most who have been through the process say it actually is a positive experience.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more.