Inspired by the report released by the Institute of Medicine, “Dying in America,” and recent attention garnered by thought-leaders such as Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, an article in the preeminent peer-reviewed journal, JAMA, shines a light on the importance of a quality experience at life’s end.
Rubin cites research showing that Medicare beneficiaries with cancer who opted for hospice care has lower rates of Intensive Care admissions, hospitalizations, and invasive procedures compared with similar patients who did not opt for hospice care.
Barriers still appear to be in place that prevent patients from accessing appropriate hospice and palliative care services in a timely fashion. Lack of physician training in talking about death and care options, lack of reimbursement for physicians’ time in discussion EOL care, and real and perceived barriers that seem to limit hospice brink of death care are all factors.
The article shares some information about innovations such as the Aetna Compassionate Care program and the federal Medicare Care Choices Model pilot program that may help shift the paradigm.
Insight from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s President and CEO J. Donald Schumacher, PsyD, as well as NHPCO’s facts & figures are included in this thoughtful discussion.
The articles ends with a quote, “I think if we could reframe the conversation about wellness and living with quality for as long as possible, no matter your health condition, that’s the cultural shift that we need to make.”
Access the article, “Improving The Quality of Life at the End of Life” on the JAMA website.