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US research: Cost-effectiveness of hospice care

07 March 2013

Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital have found that hospice enrolment saves money and improves care for patients in the US.

The research, published in Health Affairs, found that enrolment in hospice care reduced the cost of caring for a patient. The study found: "$2,561 in savings to Medicare, the federal health benefit provider, for each patient enrolled in hospice 53–105 days before death, compared to a matched, nonhospice control. Even higher savings were seen, however, with more common, shorter enrolment periods: $2,650, $5,040, and $6,430 per patient enrolled 1–7, 8–14, and 15–30 days prior to death, respectively."

The study builds upon the growing body of evidence that hospice care saves money, for example, the 2007 Duke University study, which showed that "increasing the length of hospice use for 7 in 10 Medicare hospice users would increase savings".

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) has also welcomed the news and Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of the NHPCO has commented, saying: “For many years, hospice professionals have known through firsthand experience, that the interdisciplinary care they provide to patients and family caregivers coping with life-limiting illness significantly improves quality of life and allows people to focus on living as fully as possible even as life draws to a close. Now the broader healthcare community, regulators and legislators understand more fully the many benefits of hospice care.”

The full findings of the research can be found on the Health Affairs website

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