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NHPCO Reports Growth in Number of Hospice Patients Served, 1.4 Million, With a Wider Range of Illnesses Seen by Providers
Date:11/10/2008

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- November is National Hospice/Palliative Care Month and in honor of this time of expanded awareness, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization released updated facts and figures about hospice care in the U.S.

Statistics Indicate Growth

Annually, NHPCO reports on hospice trends and provides updated information on the field. Newly released data reflecting 2007 usage of hospice, indicates that:

-- 38.8 percent of all deaths in the U.S. were under the care of hospice,

up from 35 percent the previous year.

-- 1.4 million people with a life-limiting illness received care from the

nation's 4,700 hospice providers.

-- Average length of service increased to 67.4 days (from 59.8 days in

2006).

-- 30.8 percent of those served by hospice died or were discharged in seven

days or less.

-- 13.1 percent of those served died or were discharged in 180 days or

more.

Non-Cancer Diagnoses Account for More Patients

Additionally, the top five diagnoses among hospice patients reported by NHPCO show the continued trend of less cancer patients among those served. Non-cancer diagnoses accounted for 58.7 percent of patients last year. The top five diagnoses seen in hospice for 2007 are as follows:

Cancer 41.3 percent

Heart Disease 11.8 percent

Debility unspecified 11.2 percent

Dementia, includes Alzheimer's 10.1 percent

Lung Disease 7.9 percent

Hospice Patients Live Longer on Average

Hospice care may prolong the lives of some terminally ill patients. In a recent study, the mean survival was 29 days longer for hospice patients than for non-hospice patients. Researchers studied 4,493 terminally ill patients with either congestive heart failure or cancer of the breast, colon, lun
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SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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