Thursday, November 3, 2011
The 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.