Every year, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization puts together a report with statistics on the state of hospice in America. With that report, we have compiled this list of hospice and hospital fast facts.

Hospice is a term for a broad range of services

The services included with hospice care include:

  • Managing the patient’s pain and other symptoms (Over 65% of patients’ pain was brought to a comfortable level within 48 hours of admission into hospice). 
  • Assisting the patient and their family with all aspects of dying: emotional, psychological, and spiritual, including grief counseling and support.
  • Providing the patient with medication and any needed medical equipment.
  • Deliver special services, including physical therapy as needed.

The amount of hospice patients is increasing

In 2018 (the latest year’s data), 1.55 million Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in hospice care. That’s a 4% increase from the year before.

A hospice service provides hospice care

The hospice service team is made up of healthcare professionals that work with the patient’s primary caregiver (typically a family member) to provide care and support 247/7. Most hospice is provided at the patient’s home, though some long-term care facilities offer hospice care, as do many hospitals. 

Hospice may extend a patients life 

A study from the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that hospice care extended the average patient’s life by 29 days. When in hospice care, the patient receives careful management and treatment of their symptoms, in addition to physical and emotional care, which leads many patients to feel better, which may give them some extra fortitude to live.

Hospice is a benefit that is covered by Medicare 

Medicare and most private insurance plans cover hospice care. Hospice is intended for patients with a life expectancy of six months or less. Medicare covers nearly every aspect of hospice care, with little to no cost to patients or their families. To qualify, a patient must be eligible for Medicare Part A, and a doctor must certify that the patient is terminally ill and has six months or less to live.

The top diagnoses 

The top five diagnoses (cancer, debility unspecified, dementia, heart disease, and lung disease) account for more than 83% of hospice patients. The largest category of hospice patients were diagnosed with cancer, accounting for nearly 37% of hospice patients.