Research

Hospice afterthought

Aggressive end-of-life care is not what patients want

A hospice stay of less than three days suggests patients are not receiving the comfort and psychological support that hospice is meant to provide. Darker states have a higher percentage of hospice stays of less than three days. Credit: Program in Public Health

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association documents an increase in hospice use over the last decade but also finds more ICU utilization, more repeat hospitalizations, and more late health care transitions. The data raises concern about whether aggressive care and burdensome transitions at the end of life are consistent with the wishes of patients or those of their family members.