The truth of the matter is that many patients near the end-of-life journey often wait too long to seek hospice care as a treatment option. This may only give the patient and family a few short weeks or sometimes just days or hours to receive care, which means they did not experience the full benefit of what hospice provides.
People with terminal diagnoses should be having frank conversations with their doctors about where they are in the disease progression and what their goals are for end-of-life long before their last days; unfortunately, this doesn’t happen for many.
The time a patient receives hospice care has been substantiated by many studies. According to a study published in the September 2017 edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, many people who benefit from hospice care wait too long to request it.
During the last year of their life, only 43 percent of the participants, 70 years of age or older, utilized hospice. The average duration of hospice care was 12.5 days. Results suggested that hospice care should have been started earlier to reduce pain and suffering as well as greatly improve the quality of life and receive the supportive care that is needed.