According to a new report from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, hospice services are increasing in nursing homes more than in any other care setting. From 2012 to 2013, the percentage of hospice patients receiving end-of-life care in nursing homes grew from 17.2% to 17.9%. Researchers say more people with chronic diseases are living longer, explaining the growth of hospice in this setting.
Most hospice patients receive care in their own home or other private residences, but the number of hospice patients in this setting showed the lowest annual increase. Additionally, the proportion of hospice patients in residential facilities and hospice inpatient facilities decreased. Acute care hospitals grew significantly from 6.6% to 7.0% although they are still not major sites for hospice care.
The median length of stay for hospice patients is also becoming a concern for hospice professionals. Researchers noted that many dying Americans receive care for a week or less and that “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.”
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