In-Home Care: A Better Option in Caring for the Terminally Ill

Geriatrics | Articles

Recent research finds that In-home care for terminally ill patients can improve patient satisfaction while reducing medical care costs. These findings, claim researchers, provide “strong evidence for reforming end-of-life care.”

Dr. Richard Brumley and his research team view the current medical care structure as inadequate in meeting the needs of terminally ill patients, as well as reducing the cost of care at the end of life. While Hospice care is available through Medicare, the program is underused and 60% of all deaths take place in the hospital.

The goal of this study was to determine the effects of enhancing care to chronically ill patients by providing comprehensive, coordinated, and compassionate care by an interdisciplinary team of health care providers. Results showed that patients provided this type of palliative care reported significantly greater satisfaction in the care received and were significantly more likely to die at home than those receiving usual care (71 percent versus 51 percent).

In addition, in-home palliative care patients were significantly less likely to visit the emergency department or be admitted to the hospital than those receiving the usual care. This resulted in significantly lower costs. In fact, the average cost per day was $95.30 for palliative care patients, less than half of the $212.80 per day costs incurred by usual care participants.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Geriatric Society, July 2007.

For loved ones facing terminal illnesses, it is impossible for those of us who care to put a price on being able to be kind, compassionate and loving during their final days. The book To Die Well by Dr. Sidney Wanzer, featured on the Benzinger On Health website, paints a clear picture with clear steps to accomplish exactly what this article notes. The patient and the family all benefit emotionally, psychologically and financially from this type of option. It is the best choice. Click here to listen to the interview with Dr. Wanzer.

This is Dr. Benzinger on Health helping you fight for your well-being! May god bless you!

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