More people are facing chronic and terminal illness than ever before. In fact, Pew Research Center estimates 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day from now until 2030. That translates to millions of adults living with chronic conditions that may shorten their life expectancy and dramatically impact their quality of life.
Without a coordinated plan of care in the right setting, many of them will be caught in the revolving door of emergency rooms and doctors’ offices. This not only creates needless anxiety for patients and their caregivers, the increase in hospitalizations brings millions of dollars in unnecessary healthcare costs. November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, which is the perfect time to draw attention to the benefits of supportive care for people navigating of serious, chronic or terminal illness.
New Research Shows Huge Cost Savings
The hospice model has long been shown to have tremendous benefits to quality of life for both patients and families, especially when it’s engaged early in a terminal diagnosis. A new study demonstrates another valuable benefit — the dramatic cost savings that hospice care can offer in the last months of life.
According to healthcare data analytics firm Trella Health, providers today are facing intense pressure to reduce costs, but they are missing a big opportunity by under-utilizing hospice. The study found that patients who did not elect their hospice benefit incurred as much as $27,455 in additional healthcare costs, compared with patients who received hospice care in their last months of life.
Early hospice referrals were instrumental in decreasing end-of-life costs and keeping patients out of inpatient and ER settings. Patients who received no hospice care were 10 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who received early referrals. In addition, late hospice patients were five times more likely to visit the emergency room during their last month of life than early hospice patients. On average, patients who were referred to hospice early saved an average of $14,000 in the last three months of life.
Beyond Hospice Care
Palliative care, also called advanced illness care, offers an extra layer of support for people with serious illness wherever a patient calls home. Hospice is the most familiar type of palliative care, but it’s limited to a life expectancy of six months or less. Advanced illness care can be provided at any stage of an illness for as long as necessary — weeks, months or even years. People who could benefit from palliative care include those living with chronic lung disease or COPD, congestive heart failure, cancer, dementia, diabetes and neurologic conditions such as multiple sclerosis or ALS.
Hosparus Health has provided compassionate hospice and palliative care for patients and families facing serious illness since 1978. In 2019, we cared for 8,800 patients in our 41-county service area in Kentucky and Indiana.
We often hear from patients and families that they wished they had called us earlier. That’s because the medical care, care coordination, emotional and spiritual support we offer gives them such profound relief. They can stop focusing on the discomfort caused by their disease and instead make the most of each day.
The Changing Face of Care
Along with national organizations like the Center to Advance Palliative Care and the National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation, Hosparus Health is leading efforts to change how the public, health care institutions and lawmakers think about aging care and the last stages of life.
With the rapid growth of the aging population, demand for hospice and palliative care continues to surge. Now is the time to raise awareness about how this type of supportive care can not only help patients live better, longer, it also has the potential to relieve a significant financial burden off the healthcare system.
Hosparus Health needs your help now more than ever to ensure compassionate hospice and palliative care are available to all who need it, regardless of ability to pay. To make a gift in any amount, please click here.