Hospice Care For The Terminally Ill Is An Underused Resource

Hospice Care For The Terminally Ill Is An Underused Resource

Hospice care is essential in relieving pain and providing quality care to patients with a life-threatening illness.  Unlike other healthcare facilities, hospices also focus their attention on the families of patients.  Hospice care is helpful for terminally ill but is an underused resource. People are now acknowledging the benefits of hospice care, but the utilization is still low. Delaying a referral to a hospice hurts the efficiency of the life care that patients receive at the facility.  More than 25% of the patients who spend the last moments in a hospice use it for just three days.  A large number of late referrals followed hospitalization with intensive care. It is only 43% of the older adults who were taken to a hospice who got a hospice admission at the last year of life. Most of those who got the pleasure to be there only spend fewer two weeks at the facility. The low admission is despite the availability of the service for individuals with less than six months to live. 

A presumption that hospice care can only be at a healthcare facility like a hospital or a nursing home is another reason for underutilization.  A patient can also receive hospice care at home. The patient will get all the services available at facilities to build for the purpose, including pain medication and symptom management.  Patients can receive hospice care at home for them to be comfortable in the last days.  

Some people have a justification for not using palliative care as they feel that it does not offer treatment.  Some families keep trying different methods of treatment, even when their patients are critically ill. They want to all the treatment options hoping that their efforts will lead to a medical solution and their patient will heal. 

Many reasons compel a family or doctor to take a patient to a hospice or not.  Some have genuine reasons, but many patients are not even referred to hospices, so hospice care is still an underused resource for terminally ill.

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