Hospice Demand Not Pumping the Brakes Any Time Soon: Study

The demand for hospice care among seniors shows no signs of slowing down, with a direct correlation between the demand for hospice care and average lifespan. As the number of people who pass away due to progressive diseases increases, so has the need for longer, more sustained care, according to a recent study conducted by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The study focuses on trends in hospice care from 2007 to 2011. 

The number of hospice care patients increased 4.2% in 2011, reporting 70,000 additional patients since the previous year. Of the 1.65 million patients who received care in 2011, NHPCO reports the 1.1 million who died under hospice care represents 44.6% of all U.S. deaths for the year.

To accommodate this climbing trend, the number of hospice programs have increased since 2007 to 5,300 programs last year. Expanding beyond the continental U.S., hospice programs rose 2.8% in 2011 with establishments in Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

NHPCO’s data suggests that hospice care not only appeals to many seniors, but to their loved ones as well through the program’s number of resources extended to both patient and family members including compassionate care, expert medical care, emotional and spiritual support, in addition to bereavement counseling.

For many seniors entering into their final years, more individuals have turned to nursing homes to receive hospice treatment, NHPCO reports. While hospice agency locations have declined across the board from 2010 to 2011, nursing home hospices have risen to 18.3% of all patients receiving care. 

Written by Jason Oliva