Quality of information on hospice referral.
Good quality referral information provides hospice staff with essential information at a time when patients are particularly vulnerable. An Ideal Referral Criteria tool for measuring the quality of general practitioners' information was piloted at one hospice site. Overall inter-rater reliability was 90%, with individual categories ranging from 19% to 34%. Cronbach's alpha was 0.35. Further psychometric testing is recommended. (+info)
Teaching medical undergraduates basic clinical skills in hospice--is it practical?
AIM: Basic clinical skills teaching to medical undergraduates was a new departure for the hospice stimulated by the changing philosophies and organisation of students' training. This study was undertaken to assess the practicalities of the venture. METHOD: Questionnaires were designed for each of the three major groups of people involved, namely the students, the patients, and the hospice nurses. Involved patients completed theirs after teaching sessions, while the students and nurses were given two different questionnaires each, one at the start and another at the end of the academic year. RESULTS: All students completed both questionnaires. Overall they had acquired adequate skills to pass their end of year assessments and considered themselves more comfortable with difficult situations than may otherwise have been the case. The majority of patients had enjoyed the experience and found it personally educational and a change to hospice routines. The nurses' response rates were very poor, limiting any conclusions that could be drawn. CONCLUSION: The venture was successful, stimulating, and practical for patients and students. Its impact on the nurses remains uncertain but, by their unusual lack of opinion expression, it can be inferred tentatively that this was minimal. (+info)
Trend data on medical encounters: tracking a moving target.
The National Health Care Survey (NHCS), conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, consists of separate data collection activities that can be used to track the number and content of health care encounters in the United States. Tracking even something as simple as the number of encounters, however, is complicated by the fact that the content of these encounters changes over time. Results from the NHCS indicate that the U.S. population has been receiving more drugs, more cardiac procedures, more ambulatory surgery, more therapies in nursing homes, and more home health care over time. Policymakers and researchers who examine health care trends should be wary about judging whether the number of length of encounters is positive or negative without also examining the content of these encounters. (+info)
Patients with cancer referred to hospice versus a bridge program: patient characteristics, needs for care, and survival.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare the characteristics and needs of patients with advanced cancer who were referred to hospice with those referred to a prehospice "bridge" program that is staffed by hospice nurses. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Data were gathered through retrospective review of computerized clinical records using precoded data fields of 284 patients with cancer enrolled in a bridge program and 1,000 who enrolled in a hospice program. Patient characteristics, needs for supportive care at the time of enrollment, and survival were assessed. RESULTS: Bridge patients were less likely to have Medicare or Medicaid (43% v 72%; odds ratio, 0.30; P <.001) and were younger (69 v 73 years, rank sum test; P <.001), more likely to be married (59% v 43%; odds ratio, 1.90; P <.001), and more likely to be in the highest income category (14% v 10%; odds ratio, 1.77; P =.009). Bridge patients had at least as many needs for care as did patients in hospice. Bridge patients lived significantly longer (median, 46 v 19 days; log-rank test of survivor functions, P <.001). CONCLUSION: Patients referred to this bridge program had prognoses that are significantly better than those of patients who enter hospice, but they have needs for supportive care that are at least as great. These findings underscore the importance of initiatives to extend some of the benefits of hospice care to a wider population of patients and should encourage the analysis of similar programs' ability to meet these needs. (+info)
Home care: what a physician needs to know.
When elderly patients might benefit from home care, a key question is whether Medicare will pay for it. We describe what physicians can do to avoid the pitfalls in qualifying appropriate patients for Medicare's Home Health Services and hospice programs, and the basic features of these two programs. We also describe the experience and methods used in prototype programs that provide home-based hospital-level care, and that revive a supposedly lost art: physician house calls. (+info)
Medicare beneficiaries' costs of care in the last year of life.
This paper profiles Medicare beneficiaries' costs for care in the last year of life. About one-quarter of Medicare outlays are for the last year of life, unchanged from twenty years ago. Costs reflect care for multiple severe illnesses typically present near death. Thirty-eight percent of beneficiaries have some nursing home stay in the year of their death; hospice is now used by half of Medicare cancer decedents and 19 percent of Medicare decedents overall. African Americans have much higher end-of-life costs than others have, an unexpected finding in light of their generally lower health care spending. (+info)
Facsimile transmission of prescriptions for patients enrolled in hospice programs. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Justice. Final rule.
DEA is finalizing, without change, the interim rule with request for comment published in the Federal Register on July 25, 2000 (65 FR 45712). The interim rule amended Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1306.11(g) to clearly articulate that prescriptions for Schedule II narcotic substances for patients enrolled in hospice care certified by Medicare under Title XVIII or licensed by the state may be transmitted by facsimile. No comments to the interim rule were received. This final rule makes the clarification permanent. (+info)
Hospice use in Medicare managed care and fee-for-service systems.
OBJECTIVE: To examine whether patterns of hospice use by older Medicare beneficiaries are consistent with the differing financial incentives in Medicare managed care (MC) and fee-for-service (FFS) settings. Specifically, are use patterns consistent with incentives that might encourage hospice use for MC enrollees and discourage hospice use for FFS enrollees? STUDY DESIGN: One-year study of hospice use by Medicare beneficiaries dying in 1996. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Medicare enrollment and hospice administrative data were used to examine hospice use before death for all elderly individuals residing in 100 US counties with high MC enrollment in 1996. Age-, sex-, and race-adjusted rate of hospice use and length of stay in hospice are compared between FFS and MC enrollees across and within (when possible) the 100 counties. RESULTS: Rates of hospice use were significantly higher for MC enrollees than for FFS enrollees (26.6 vs 17.0 per 100 deaths; P < .001). These differences persisted within age, sex, and race groups but were not related to area MC enrollment rate or the amount of money paid to managed care organizations. Age-, sex-, and race-adjusted differences were observed in 94 of 100 counties. Length of stay in hospice was marginally longer for MC enrollees than for FFS enrollees (median, 24 vs 21 days; P < .0001). CONCLUSIONS: System of care is an important determinant of hospice use in the elderly Medicare population. (+info)