SERVING EASTERN CONNECTICUT - SINCE 1985

Medical/Professional

Hospice by the Numbers

The initial indicators

Hospice has been studied from a number of different angles since it was designated for Medicaid funding in 1982. But only recently has new light been shined on its efficacy.

We encourage all medical professionals to do their own research, because many studies represent qualitative samples and are conducted by organizations with a vested interest in hospice. Yet there is strong – and growing - evidence to make the clinical case for the early involvement of hospice and palliative care.

Reduced cost and improved care

Hospice of Michigan research performed in 2012 reported that its programs for end-stage illness patients saved 36 percent in medical costs. The same report indicated that patients and families experienced higher quality care and reduced stress when involved with hospice programs.

Read more: Hospice care in ACOs reduces hospitalizations - FierceHealthcare

Reduced rehospitalizations

Hospitalizations within the last months of life are difficult and costly, and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have become increasingly concerned about hospital readmissions.

Hospices have historically not been well-represented as an alternate model of care and much of the available research focuses on nursing homes. For example, a Brown Medical School {} study concluded that access to hospice care in a nursing home setting reduces by 50% residents' chances of being admitted to a hospital during their last 30 days of life. The finding was compared to peers who did not receive hospice care.

Looking back further, a 2001 American Journal of Medicine study,  “Hospice enrollment and hospitalization of dying nursing home patients,” indicated that hospice patients were less likely than non-hospice nursing home residents to be hospitalized.

The report stated, “When integrated into the nursing home care processes, hospice care is associated with less hospitalization for Medicare hospice patients. Additionally, possibly through diffusion of palliative care philosophy and practices, non-hospice residents who died in nursing homes having a hospice presence had lower rates of end-of-life hospitalizations.”

Satisfaction levels

A 2012 report in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society entitled, “Hospice Improves Quality of Life for Patients with Dementia, 500 families were surveyed regarding satisfaction levels regarding the quality of life and quality of care received by patients dying of dementia. This study showed that families who received hospice were 24% more likely to rate their quality of care as excellent.

A 1986 study published in Hospice Journal called “Assessment of patient satisfaction and hospice: A review and an investigation “ used a sample of 114 relatives of hospice patients, who responded to a questionnaire on hospice care three months 3 after the patient's death. Results indicate a high degree of satisfaction - of which control of pain was a major component.

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