The results of a recent study published by Health Affairs, a journal of health policy and research, show that hospice provides significant cost reductions for patient care. This is great news for taxpayers because of the large portion of health care in the US that is funded by Medicare.
Of course, we have known all along about the savings that hospice care delivers. This finding just makes it official.
Earlier findings had indicated that, on average, significant savings to Medicare occurred only when a patient was receiving hospice care for at least 53 days before dying. The new figures reveal that shorter terms can also reduce average costs.
Patients enrolled for one to seven days before dying saved Medicare an average of $2,650. Patients on hospice for eight to 14 days resulted in savings of $5,040. And those who were hospice patients for 15 to 30 days before death led to an average savings of $6,430 compared to hospital and other medical costs.
Multiply those figures by the number of deaths that occur annually in the US. The result is savings well into the billions. With our state and nation facing multiple fiscal challenges, it is reassuring to note that ours is a portion of the health care arena where we can make a difference.
At Hope Hospice, our top objectives are patient comfort and symptom control. The care we provide comes from a team of participants. In addition to our medical team (doctors, nurses, home health aides), patients and caregivers receive support from our social worker, our chaplains and our massage therapist. This means that while our work is less costly than hospital visits, the services we deliver to patients are extensive and thorough.
How can you help? Spread the word. As Americans learn more about hospice, they embrace it in greater numbers. As patient numbers grow for hospices around the country, the savings to our nation’s Medicare budget also increase.
For information about Hope Hospice or hospice care in general, visit our website HopeHospiceStl.com or call our office at 314-984-9800.