The number of Americans taking advantage of the compassionate care hospice offers families coping with a life-limiting illness holds steady – an estimated 1.5 to 1.6 million patients in 2012 – reports the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
While many Americans are taking advantage of hospice care services, NHPCO continues to be concerned about the number of patients who experience these services for a short period of time. In 2012, 35.5 percent died or were discharged within seven days of admission, a statistic consistent with the previous year.
The unique inter-disciplinary team of hospice is equipped to aid patients through the last monthsof life. Earlier access to hospice care can reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations; additionally, quality of life for patients and family caregivers can be greatly improved.
NHPCO has released the new edition of its report, Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America(PDF). The PDF is available on the NHPCO website.
“As hospice and palliative care professionals, we need to continue reaching out to patients and family caregivers to help them understand all the benefits that hospice care brings,” said J. Donald Schumacher, PsyD, NHPCO president and CEO. “And as part of our ongoing engagement efforts, we must continue our efforts to reach communities that are under-utilizing hospice care.”
NHPCO’s annual publication Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America reports on hospice trends and provides updated information on the growth, delivery, and quality of hospice care in the U.S.
Representative statistics from the new report:
- Median length of service was 18.7 days.
- 79.9 percent of patients received care for less than 90 days.
- Those receiving care for more than 180 days accounted for 11.5 percent.
- Cancer was the most common diagnoses accounting for 36.9 percent of patients.
- 66 percent of care took place in the place the patient called home; and 27.4 percent took place in a hospice inpatient facility.
- Medicare paid for 89 percent of care provided.
Hospice provides high quality medical care and services from an interdisciplinary team of professionals and trained volunteers that maximizes quality of life and makes the wishes of the patient a priority.