Hospice improves quality of care in patients with dementia
A new study shows that hospice patients with dementia are more likely to receive excellent care and have their anxiety and sadness managed than those not on hospice. However, eligibility criteria means that some patients with dementia face hurdles gaining access to hospice or may risk disenrollment.
In the study, researchers tracked a sample of 2,059 seniors over 70years , who had died between 2011 and 2017. Some 40% of these seniors had dementia, of whom 59% used hospice, which included regular visits by nursing staff, social workers and chaplains provided at the patient's home, assisted living facility, nursing home, or dedicated area within a hospital. Of the 60% of seniors without dementia, 43% used hospice.
Researchers compared quality of care in the last month of life between patients with dementia on hospice and patients with dementia not on hospice.
Some 52% of hospice enrollees' caregivers said the standard of care was excellent, versus 41% of the non-hospice enrollees. Additionally, 67% of hospice enrollees' proxies said their sadness and anxiety was managed, compared to 46% of proxies of non-hospice enrollees. Results also showed the hospice enrollees were less likely to be switched to a different care setting than non-hospice enrollees in the days before their deaths.
The findings suggested that hospice significantly benefits enrollees with dementia and that it underscores the need to ensure access to high-quality end-of-life care for this growing population.
Dr. Nandita Mohan
BDS, MDS( Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry)