New Report on Hospice Care in the U.S. Provides Insight into Access

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National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Releases New Report, "Facts & Figures: Hospice Care in America," at National Clinical Conference in Nashville.

"Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America"

This new report shares information about hospice access in the U.S.

We need to reach patients earlier in the course of their illness to ensure they receive the full benefits that hospice and palliative care can offer.

NHPCO reports that an estimated 1.5 to 1.6 million patients were cared for by U.S. hospice programs in 2013. This figure remains consistent with statistics from the previous year.

Additionally, the number of people with a non-cancer diagnosis continues to track at 63 percent, reflecting the ability of hospice providers to care for people at life’s end who may be coping with dementia, heart disease, lung disease, stroke or kidney disease.

“A common misconception is that hospices care predominantly for people with cancer,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.

NHPCO’s annual publication, "Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America" (PDF) reports on hospice trends and provides updated information on the growth, delivery, and quality of hospice care in the U.S.

NHPCO officially releases this new report at its 15th Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive hosted in Nashville, October 27 – 29, where an estimated 1,000 hospice and palliative care professionals have gathered to focus on clinical practices in end-of-life care.

Of ongoing concern to hospice and palliative care professionals is the fact that 34.5 percent of patients died or were discharged within seven days of admission.

“While many dying Americans are opting for hospice care at the end of their lives, far too many receive care for a week or less,” said J. Donald Schumacher, PsyD, NHPCO president and CEO. “We need to reach patients earlier in the course of their illness to ensure they receive the full benefits that hospice and palliative care can offer.”

This sentiment is reflected in the report recently published by the Institute of Medicine, “Dying in America,” that calls for greater access to advance care planning and palliative care services.

“There’s a common misconception that hospice care is giving up,” said Schumacher. “Nothing could be farther from the truth. Hospice provides high quality medical care and services from an interdisciplinary team of professionals and trained volunteers that maximizes quality of life and makes the wishes of the patient a priority.”

Additional findings in NHPCO’s report include:

  • Median length of service continued to decrease to 18.5 days in 2013 (that means half of hospice patients received care for less than 18 days and half received care for more than 18 days).
  • The majority of hospice care, 66 percent, was provided in the home, whether the patient’s home was a private residence, nursing home, or residential facility.
  • The Medicare Hospice Benefit covered 91.2 percent of hospice care in 2013.

Findings from the report are based on data from NHPCO’s annual survey, the National Data Set, and NHPCO membership data. Secondary sources include Medicare Provider of Services certification data, Medicare hospice cost report data, state-mandated data submissions and state association membership surveys.

"Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America" (PDF) is available in the Press Center of NHPCO’s website.

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Anita Brikman
@NHPCO_news
since: 03/2009
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