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Use Of Hospice Care Increasing, But Often Too Late


An increasing number of elderly adults die in hospice care, but many are admitted too late to receive the full benefit of their services, says a new study from researchers at Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University in Providence.

According to lead researcher Joan Teno, twice as many elderly adults died in hospice care over the last decade, but many spent as little as three days in hospice. They also found that as many as forty percent followed their hospice stay with one in intensive care.

"For many patients, hospice is an add-on to a very aggressive pattern of care during the last days of life," Teno says. "We suspect their needs and their families didn't get the support they needed."

She adds: "I think every person needs to make a decision based on what is important for them in the last months of life. All too often, I see doctors take aggressive approaches with treatment and only talk to patients about hospice when there is futility."

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