Hospice in End-of-Life Patients With Cancer: Does It Lead to Changes in Nonhospice Health Care Utilization After Stopping Cancer Treatment?

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Abstract

This study assessed the patterns of nonhospice health care utilization among 207 deceased cancer patients and focused on outcomes after cancer treatment was stopped. A total of 117 (57%) were enrolled in hospice. The mean cumulative number of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, or other noncancer clinic visits (standard deviation) among those enrolled and not enrolled in hospice was 1.8 (+ 1.8) and 3.11 (+ 3.0), respectively (P < .0001). Among hospice enrollees, the mean cumulative visits (standard deviation) was 1.29 (+ 1.7) and 0.5 (+ 1.0) before and after enrollment, respectively (P < .0001). For patients who eventually enrolled, the rates of nonhospice health care visits (visits per week) yielded a trend to suggest a decline (P = .054). Hospice was associated with a drop in nonhospice-related health care utilization, thus suggesting it provides timely medical interventions and favorable continuity of care.

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