As Dr. Christian Sinclair pointed out in a recent post on the blog Pallimed, the 2010 edition of the NHPCO report Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America was short of surprises when compared to data from last year's report.
So I looked back to a 2005 report to better understand how the hospice industry has changed (or not) over the past five years. Among my surprises were these:
-Impressive growth in the percentage of decedents receiving hospice care. Sure, I expected growth, but not at the rate we've seen.
-Short-stay patients (7 days or less) remained level at one-third of total deaths and discharges. Is this an intractable issue, in which case hospices should consider improving their capacity to provide exemplary care for short-stay patients, or does there remain optimism that knowledge of more timely (earlier) referrals will spread quickly, thus reducing the percentage of short-stay patients.
-The size of hospices remained small - nearly 8 out of 10 have fewer than three admissions per week. Given the speculative talk about consolidation, I expected that over the past five years there would have been considerably fewer hospices admitting less that 150 patients per year.
Got me to thinking. If I was considering hospice care for a family member, aware that there is a one-in-three chance that the episode of hospice care will be no longer than a week, I'd want to select a hospice that admits ten times the number of patients than the average-sized hospice. I figure that the additional volume would mean greater proficiency in short-stay care.
Does volume matter? No studies to prove either way.
What do your professional instincts tell you?
Advancing the Policy Debate on End of Life Care (free event at the UN) - If you are in New York on April 13, check out “Advancing the Policy Debate on End of Life Care” at the United Nations Headquarters. This free event (regist...
9 hours ago