Nursing home residents who enter a hospice are less likely to be hospitalized within the last 30 days of life than residents who do not use hospice services, a study in Health Services Research found.
The researchers found that:
- Residents of nursing homes that were closer in distance to a hospice were more likely to enroll in the hospice;
- Residents of nursing homes with high proportions of nonwhite residents and for-profit facilities had a higher likelihood of being hospitalized; and
- Residents of nursing homes that were near a hospice operated by a home health agency were less likely to be hospitalized than residents in nursing homes near hospices operated by government or skilled nursing facilities.
The researchers concluded that entering hospices discouraged patients from seeking end-of-life care at hospitals because hospices offer increased access to palliative care and intervene when hospitalization is considered because of Medicare reimbursement rules that bar payment for curative treatments after a beneficiary has entered a hospice (Gozalo/Miller, Health Services Research, April 2007). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.