Hospice care gains more supporters following telling studies

A new study by the Dartmouth Atlas, a group that specializes in studying medical care, has determined that a full one third of U.S. patients dying of cancer end up pursuing costly and ineffective hospital care as opposed to seeking hospice care. A quote from the researchers, published on MSNBC.com:
“Patients often unnecessarily receive care in the ICU and invasive procedures,” said Dr. John Goodman who coauthored the Dartmouth Atlas study of 235,821 patients with federal Medicare health insurance who died of cancer between 2003 and 2007.
“On average, patients … would much prefer to receive care that allows them the highest quality of life in their last weeks and months and care that allows them whenever possible to be at home and with their families,” Goodman told reporters in a telephone briefing.

Joining the list of professional organizations publicly supporting hospice care is The American Society of Clinical Oncology, whose mission is to create guidelines for cancer specialists, citing their belief that it serves to decrease pain and increase quality of life for both patients and their families.

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