End of Life Care Improving for Americans on Medicare

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There’s a good trend in recent years of Medicare beneficiaries receiving better end of life care and not dying as often in hospital settings. 

A report released in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) stated that more Americans are experiencing “good deaths” outside the ICU, allowing them to experience less stress and hardship on themselves and family members.

The study showed that people on Medicare who died in acute care went down from 32.6 percent in 2000 to 19.8 percent in 2015. In addition, people had a lower chance of dying three days after being hospitalized.

There was also a decrease in those with three or more hospitalizations in the last 90 days of life – from 11.5 percent in 2009 to 7.1 percent in 2015.

Most of these positive changes are due to the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which sought to improve end-of-life care, which included growing hospice and palliative care services.

The importance of proper end of life care

The study’s lead author Joan Teno, MD, told AARP, “… it is very important that we have a very frank conversation with people at this stage of life who are seriously ill about what’s important to them at this phase of life, their understanding of their prognosis, the seriousness of the illness that they are dealing with … and their treatment options. If they have wishes to avoid hospitalization and try to remain at home, we need to design a system to allow this.”

Choosing an assisted living facilty

If you or your loved ones choose to be in an assisted living facility at the end of life, it’s important to do your research and make sure the facility provides the quality medical care you need, especially good end-of-life care.

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