Protect the Dying from Abuse


Target:Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Goal: Demand harsher punishments for those who mistreat patients in hospice

When someone is dying of a terminal illness, they can choose to live out their final days under hospice care. In a specialized establishment or their own home, terminally ill patients are given the opportunity to experience some comfort outside of the sterile hospital setting. However, sometimes cruel actions are performed in hospice with little to no repercussions.

Hospices are supposed to provide relief for dying patients. While there is often nothing to do about patients’ illnesses, hospice care can provide some assistance, including emotional support and pain control. However, there are instances of cruel practices and mistreatment within hospices. Some care providers injure patients or put them in physical danger. The fact that many hospices are not inspected regularly only exacerbates the problem.

Without consistent inspection, many mistreatments go unnoticed and unpunished. However, it has also been noted that when problems are detected by inspectors, the perpetrators are hardly ever reprimanded. Of the 31,000 violations identified during the 15,000 inspections of the last decade, only 16 faced any legal consequences.

Violations could be any number of problems ranging from a mistake in a chart, to abuse, or even administering wrong doses of medication that could result in death. Regardless, these people deserve better protection in their dying days. They choose hospices for comfort and should be treated fairly.

By signing this petition, you will be demanding more serious consequences for those who practice violations within hospice care and also demanding more regulated inspections for hospices nationwide. These people need help and deserve to pass with dignity and respect.


Dear Secretary Burwell,

Hospices are intended to provide assistance and comfort for the terminally ill. However, this is not always the case. Mistreatment within hospices has become an increasing problem. What is more disturbing is that those committing the abuse and neglect often go without punishment. Inspection rates of hospices are not consistent, as some have gone without inspection for six years.

Action must be taken to make sure that people in hospice care receive more respect and protection. More hospitce inspections nationwide are necessary to help regulate violations and make sure people are being treated fairly. Also, people who do violate rules deserve harsher punishments. These mistreatments cannot go unnoticed and must be handled with justice. I urge you to help reform the way hospice care is handled and implement stricter regulations so that no person is left behind.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rosie-OBeirne via Flickr

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