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Living Longer with Hospice Care

Comparing Hospice and Non-Hospice Patient Survival Among Patients Who Die Within a Three-Year Window, an article that appeared in the Journal of Pain & Symptom Management, reporting that some terminally ill patients live longer when they utilize hospice care.

The study, sponsored by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, compared 4,493 terminally ill patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) or cancer of the lung, breast, colon, pancreas or prostate, based on specific clinical data and found that:

  • Patients who chose hospice care lived an average of 29 days longer than those who did not choose hospice.

  • Patients with heart failure, though few chose hospice care, the mean survival period jumped from 321 days to 402 days- an 81 day difference.

  • For patients with lung disease, the mean survival period was 39 days.

The article noted that numerous factors contributed to the increased longevity. Some of these factors are as follows:

  • Hospice patients may avoid the risks of over-treatment and this factor is especially significant for cancer patients.

  • Hospice patients may get better monitoring and treatment, partly because the Medicare hospice benefit covers medications that are relevant to the hospice admission diagnosis.

  • The psychosocial support provided by hospice may extend life, in part because it may relieve the patients’ fear of being a burden to their families.

Those of us who work in the privileged world of hospice care have always known that many patients do live longer and with a better quality of life. This additional time allows patients and their families to have hope for time to say I love you, thank you, forgive me, I forgive you and goodbye.

Another study indicates that Americans don’t want to: die alone, die in pain, or be a burden to their loved ones. Hospice provides support for all of the above by involving physicians, nurses, home health aides, clergy, social workers and counselors to provide the holistic care that is deserved for a dignified rest of your life care.

For more information on hospice care, please contact us at 806.356.0026 or toll free at 866.654.2941.