Thursday, November 3, 2011
Studies on End of Life Planning
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.
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
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