Are Hospice Policies the Reason Behind Underuse?
December 21, 2012 | Aging Services Risk Management
A study reviewing hospice enrollment policies in the United States, published in the December 2012 issue of Health Affairs, found that the policies for many hospices are likely to create barriers to enrollment, which may in part explain why many patients die without hospice care. Of the 591 hospices that completed the survey, 78% reported at least one restrictive enrollment policy. To determine whether a hospice's enrollment policy was restrictive, the researchers asked if the following patients were accepted: those receiving total parenteral nutrition, those using a feeding tube, those receiving chemotherapy, those receiving transfusion, those who might need an intrathecal catheter, those who want to continue to receive palliative radiation, and those without family caregivers. On average, hospices reported 2.3 restrictive policies, with less than 1% of all responding hospices having all seven restrictive policies.