NHPCO Encourages Dialog between Patients and Physicians
ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Patients with advanced cancer who reported talking about their end-of-life wishes with their physicians had significantly lower healthcare costs in the last week of life. Researchers found that these conversations between patients and physicians led to fewer cases of aggressive care, which saved money and resulted in a far more peaceful death for patients.
The study in the March 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine suggests a tangible benefit to advance care planning discussions with physicians -- lower costs and reduced utilization of aggressive care, including admission to the Intensive Care Unit.
Thirty percent of Medicare's annual costs are spent on the five percent of beneficiaries who will die in a given year. Additionally, about one-third of those dollars spent in the last year of life are spent in the last month.
"Discussions about care at the end of life result in a higher quality of life for patients -- and cost the healthcare system less money, that is something that hospice and palliative care providers have long known," said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
A 2007 study out of
Researchers in this recent survey looking at costs in the last week of life indicate that if 50 percent of people had a discussion with their physician about end-of-life care preferences, the cost difference in a year could be more than $76 million dollars.
Study participants who discussed end-of-life care preferences were more likely to be referred to hospice sooner than those who did not.
"In fact, patients who received less invasive or aggress
|SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization|
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