Friday, June 12, 2015

More Patients Choose Hospice Care at End of Life If Their Doctor Recommends It

When it comes to dying, nearly everyone says they want a peaceful, painless death, outside of a hospital. To make good on this wish, some patients in their final days are choosing hospice care as an alternative to more aggressive treatments, procedures, and hospital stays aimed at prolonging life. And a new study shows physicians play a big role in hospice awareness.

The Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) study, which was published in Health Affairs, reveals patients making end-of-life decisions are more likely to consider hospice if their physician actively recommends it as an option. Hospice care focuses on comfort and quality care instead of a life-saving cure.

"This new information provides a clear policy target for improving and advancing the quality of care for patients at the end of their lives," Ziad Obermeyer, MD, a physician researcher at BWH, said in a news release. "We need to know what our patients really want at the end of their lives. We need to remove the barriers to having these discussions and give our patients the care they actually want."

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