End-of-Life Care Standard Dependent On Patient's Location
End-of-life care for dying patients and its standard are largely dependent on where the patient resides, according to U.S. researchers.
Lead author Dr. David C. Goodman for the Dartmouth Atlas Project, which reports on trends and variation in end-of-life care, says end-of-life care differed substantially across regions and academic medical centers, UPI reports.
During 2007, the highest rates of death in a hospital were in the New York City area -- 45.8 percent in Manhattan -- while only 12 percent of the chronically-ill patients died in a hospital in Minot, N.D.
The death rate topped 10 percent in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and 19.6 percent in Portland, Ore.
The rate of chronically ill patients who died in University of Utah Health Care in Salt Lake City decreased from 31.5 percent to 21.3 percent, reports UPI.
The Dartmouth Atlas Project says chronically-ill Medicare patients spent less days in the hospital and received more hospice care in 2007 than they did in 2003.
However, chronically ill Medicare patients received many more visits from physicians.
From 2003 to 2007, most academic medical centers changed the intensity of the end-of-life care they provided, but not all in the same direction, UPI reports.
Researchers say some centers increased the intensity of care, while others provided less intensive care.
Dr. Goodman said in a statement, "In addition to its effects on patients' quality of life, unnecessarily aggressive care carries a high financial cost," reports UPI.
"About one-fourth of all Medicare spending goes to pay for the care of patients in their last year of life," Goodman disclosed.
Dr. Goodman added that much of the growth in Medicare spending is "the result of the high cost of treating chronic disease," according to UPI.