Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Studies on End of Life Planning

Caring for eldersThe Journal of the American Medical Association recently published a study focused on end of life care. The study found that patients are more likely to have a higher quality of life and be at home when they die when medical personnel know the patient’s end of life wishes. Additionally, informing medical personnel about a patient’s end of life wishes can save Medicare about $5,600 per person in most regions of the U.S. (end of life treatment accounted for over a quarter of Medicare expenditures in 2006).

The medical journal, The Lancet , published a related study that found almost one in three Medicare beneficiaries underwent a surgical operation during his or her last year of life. These surgeries are more likely in areas with higher levels of Medicare spending and areas with a greater availability of hospital space. However, doctors had higher patient death rates in regions with these higher rates of end of life surgeries.

See Communicating End-of-Life Wishes Pays Off Where Aggressive Treatment Is the Norm, Elder Law Answers, Oct. 26, 2011.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (WealthCounsel) for bringing this article to my attention.


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I wish you would cite the actual study, when you report on one. Thank you for gathering a lot of interesting news.

Posted by: Jennifer Deland | Nov 4, 2011 2:55:19 PM

Given that this study dealt with the end of each patient's life, how could it possibly reflect "higher patient death rates?" I think what the study said was "higher rates of in-hospital death." Don't most people prefer to die at home?

Posted by: Jennifer Deland | Nov 4, 2011 3:00:46 PM

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