Thursday, January 19, 2017

Choosing Where to Retire Based upon Experience Ratings About Late-Life Care

In an earlier post (read here) , I wondered if ratings of retirement towns and cities would eventually include information about their culture and practices around late-life care. Our study of "retirement cities" and their palliative care practices, using data drawn from the Dartmouth Medical Atlas, reveals that a huge distance separate better performers from lesser performers.

One community recognized widely among desirable retirement towns is Asheville, North Carolina. Turns out that Asheville is among the better-performers in late-life care.Residents of the Asheville region are 20% less likely to die in a hospital than the state average, and 30% less likely during their final six months of life to spend time in an ICU. Asheville's overall results have earned an A grade in the DAI Community Palliative Performance Grading, placing it among exemplar communities.

Sarasota, Florida is another "retirement" community scoring high in the DAI Community Palliative Performance grading. We conclude, upon further analysis, that these exceptional results don't happen by accident. Rather, they are produced by design, including the presence of palliative medicine physician-champions and a large hospice with close relationships with the community's health care providers.