When faced with the choice of hospice care, most patients and their families focus on whether they’re ready to stop active treatment to focus on quality of life versus quantity of life. The question of health care costs rarely is mentioned.
Hospice is a program that provides medical care and support for patients facing a terminal illness who have chosen to end active treatment (such as chemotherapy for those with cancer) and instead focus on alleviating pain and discomfort.
Hospice agencies provide care for patients at home as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and senior living facilities.
While the decision to choose hospice shouldn’t be based only on cost, patients who enter hospice often remark about the reduced financial burden, says G. Perry Farmer, CEO of Crossroads Hospice in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The savings can be significant.
Health care costs for cancer patients in hospice were $8,697 lower per patient in the last year of life than patients not in hospice, according to a 2014 study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Here are some other advantages.