The overall range of services received by hospice patients increased during the 1990s, but hospices offer five key categories of palliative care inconsistently, a study in Health Services Research reported.
Researchers analyzed 9,409 discharged patients from 2,066 hospices between 1992 and 2000. The study specifically looked at five categories of palliative care:
- Medication management;
- Nursing care;
- Physician services;
- Psychosocial care; and
- Caregiver support.
The authors found that only 22% of hospice patients in 2000 received care across all five of the palliative care categories investigated. Moreover, 14% of hospices offered services in all five categories, while about 33% of hospices offered services in only one or two categories of palliative care, according to the study.
The authors concluded that changes to Medicare's hospice payment policies could encourage hospices to offer more palliative care services consistently (Carlson et al., Health Services Research, August 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.