Study: Beneficiaries Increasingly Moved to Hospice

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Some 42.2% of Medicare beneficiaries died in hospice care in 2009 compared with 21.6% in 2000, according to a retrospective cohort study. However, that finding is clouded by the fact that just over a quarter of those using hospice (28.4%) in 2009 did so for fewer than 3 days and 40.3% of them moved to hospice after intensive care unit (ICU) stays.

The researchers found that 24.6% of Medicare beneficiaries died in acute care hospitals in 2009, which was a decrease from 32.6% in 2000. However, more beneficiaries had an ICU stay in their last month of life in 2009 than in 2000 (going from 24.3% [95% confidence interval, 24.1% – 24.5%] to 29.2% [95% confidence interval, 29.0% – 29.3%]; test for trend, P < .001). In the last 3 days of life, 14.2% of beneficiaries experienced a change in the location of their care in 2009 compared with 10.3% in 2000.

In addition, among 40,576 beneficiaries whose location of care shifted in their last 3 days of life, 70.3% were moved into hospice care, 20.8% were moved to an acute care hospital, 17.8% were moved to a nursing home with hospice services, and 9.3% were moved to a nursing home without hospice services.

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Posted in: Hospice

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