hospice team concept works

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Hospice Team Concept Works

If you need further proof that the team concept used by hospice would work for people who have a chronic/terminal illness but more than six months to live, then you should read the article in the February issue of the American Journal of Managed Care titled “Patient-Centered Management of Complex Patients Can Reduce Costs Without Shortening Life“. (The link takes you to the page where you can download the full article.) You can read the article yourself for the details and exact numbers, but here is my one minute summary:

They studied insurance patients in California who had a life limiting condition. Those in the study were broken into two groups. The first group received case management as usual while the second group received intense case management by nurses specially trained in this type of care. The results showed that those in group two had:

  • fewer hospitalizations
  • more hospice use
  • less election of chemo in cancer patients
  • reduction in ER visits
  • a reduction in overall cost by 27%
  • the same life span as group one

The study seems to be further validation of what us Palliative Care supporters have been saying for years. If you let us get involved earlier with aggressive symptom control and education, you will see better care, happier patients, and less cost. Nobody looses here, and that is why I continue to be surprised by how slowly people seem to be catching on. Study after study show these same results, but not as much is being done about them as you would think.

Read the article.