A flood of studies showing the benefits of hospice care to both patients and state finances has been hitting the news reels recently as experts prove what we have known for years. A quote from a Reuters article regarding one such study, authored by Dr. Jonathan Bergman of UCLA:
In his study, Bergman and his colleagues found that while hospice enrollment among dying prostate cancer patients jumped from around 30 percent in 1992 to over 60 percent in 2005, the timing of when they entered hospice didn’t change. One-quarter of patients were in hospice for seven days or less, which is “too brief to maximize the benefit of enrollment,” the researchers write. Another 10 percent outlived the six-month hospice care guideline.
Bergman and his team did find that hospice patients were about 20 percent less likely to receive high-intensity care, for example admission to the intensive care unit, two or more emergency department visits, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They also received fewer imaging tests, which are costly and are known to have no benefit for dying prostate cancer patients.

As we’ve seen in many of these studies, the effectiveness of hospice care is being limited by the fact that many patients wait far too long to enroll. While even a short stay can greatly increase comfort levels, a week or less is truly too short of a time to create ideal results.

Read more http://hospicecarecorpblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/hospice-care-saves.html