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New research shows disparities in hospice enrollment are not likely related to access
Date:11/3/2010

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that 98 percent of the U.S. population lives in communities within 60 minutes of a hospice provider, suggesting that disparities in use of hospice are not likely due to a lack of access to a hospice provider. The results are published in the current issue of the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

"Despite a significant increase in the availability of hospice services during the past decade, the majority of Americans die without hospice care," said Melissa D.A. Carlson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Our data show that proximity to a hospice provider is not a likely barrier to hospice enrollment, as the vast majority of Americans have a hospice nearby."

Studies have shown that enrollment in hospice helps address end-of-life concerns facing patients and their caregivers. Hospice services offer symptom management, medication delivery, home crisis intervention, and psychosocial support during one of the most difficult and emotionally demanding phases of the patient's illness.

Dr. Carlson's research team studied data from the 2008 Medicare Provider of Services data, U.S. Census data, and geographic mapping software. Census tract characteristics evaluated included population per mile, population over the age of 65, median household per capita income, percentage over the age of 18 with less than a high school education, black population percentage, and census region. The team determined that 98 percent of the U.S. population lives within 60 minutes of a hospice, and 88 percent live within 30 minutes from one.

The average number of minutes between a community center and a hospice was 15 minutes. The number of minutes to the nearest hospice was lower in communities with several characteristics, including: higher population per square mile, higher median household income, lower percentage with less than a hi
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Contact: Mount Sinai Press Office
newsmedia@mssm.edu
212-241-9200
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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