Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hospice Facts and Statistics

Koyaanisqatsi - a Hopi Indian word that means "life in turmoil" or "life out of balance".

Powaqqatsi – a Hopi Indian word that means “life in transition" or “life in transformation”.

I can't think of two more appropriate words that define what the decision to enter hospice care is like for patients and their families.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization(NHPCO) estimates, "that 1.3 million patients received services from hospice in 2006. The indicates a 162% increase from the last 10 years. With the length of service remaining at 59 days."

Of the 4500 hospice programs, 19.6 % of them operate an inpatient facility as well as providing in home care. Of that 19.6.% that provide inpatient care, 87.1% are either freestanding or located within a hospital.

For some people they hear the word hospice and think of it as a place to give up and die. But a study that was published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found evidence to show that hospice care may prolong the life of some terminally ill patients. With an average survival of 29 days longer for hospice patients than for non-hospice patients. And the largest difference in survival being seen in patients with congestive heart failure.

As the population continues to age hospices will see a growth in the number of patients 65 and older. Currently 4 out of 5 patients in hospice are 65 years and older. With one third of all hospice patients being 85 years or older.

The main source of payment for hospice care is The Medicare Hospice Benefit. To be eligible one must be entitled to Medicare Part A, and be certified by their medical doctor and the hospice medical director as having a terminal condition with a prognosis of six months or less to live if the illness were allowed to run its natural course. The way it works is there are two initial 90-day benefit periods followed by an unlimited number of 60-day periods. Please note that each period requires physician re-certification.

While bringing quality care to patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families is the top priority for hospices and their staff, a study conducted by Duke University demonstrated that hospice services save money for Medicare, by an average of $2309.00 per hospice patient. It also showed that Medicare costs could be reduced further for 7 out of 10 hospice programs if the hospice had been used for longer period of time.

In addition to the excellent quality of care that patients receive in hospice, there is also a commitment to provide bereavement services to the family members of hospice patients as well as the community at large. These services are available to the family for up to one year after the death of their family member. Typically, families receive seven contacts over the year, including phone calls, visits, and mailings.

Volunteers in hospices devote a total of 40.7 hours overr the course of the year. 58.9% of hospice volunteers work directly with the hospice patient and make an average of 18.5 visits to hospice patients.

No comments: