According to a recent article in USA Today, twice as many people died in hospice care as in a hospital or nursing home compared to a decade ago. Quoting a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, they found that in 2000, 22% of seniors died in hospice care, and by 2009 that number had increased to 42%.
While more and more people are receiving the benefits of hospice care, the length of stay is still very short. More than 25% of hospice use in 2009 was for three days or less, and 40% of those late referrals followed a period of intensive care. For many patients, hospice is an add-on to a very aggressive pattern of care during the last days of life.
An accompanying article calls for an end to aggressive treatment at end of life by improving communication between patients, family members, and physicians regarding the benefit and likely expectancy of this last minute intensive care.
The study shows that people dying of cancer are more likely than those with dementia or COPD to use hospice, and the percent of people with dementia who spent time in intensive care in the last month of life rose from 18.6% in 2000 to 21.8% in 2009.
While more and more consumers are aware of the benefits of hospice care, our society still clings to life dearly and insists on intensive treatment right up to the last minute.
What do you think about the growth in the use of hospice care?
What do you think about using content marketing to tell the full story of hospice and its benefits?