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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 60

of 'Palliative care: Nursing home'

Hospice care for persons with dementia: The growth of access in US nursing homes.
Miller SC, Lima JC, Mitchell SL
Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2010;25(8):666.
BACKGROUND/RATIONALE: Persons with dementia often die in nursing homes (NHs); however, concerns exist about their low use of Medicare hospice.
METHODS: For 1999 through 2006 in all US states and DC we merged NH resident assessment data with Medicare claims and enrollment data to identify NH decedents with dementia and hospice use. We studied two groups, those with advanced dementia and those with mild-to-moderately severe dementia.
RESULTS: Across study years, 22.2% of all NH decedents had mild-to-moderately severe dementia and 19.6% had advanced dementia. In 1999, 14.5% of decedents with advanced and 13.2% with mild-to-moderately severe dementia accessed hospice, increasing to 42.5% and 37.9% respectively in 2006. Between 1999 and 2006, mean days of hospice stays increased from 46 to 118 for advanced dementia and from 39 to 79 for mild-to-moderately severe dementia. These mean length of stay differences resulted from a relatively lower proportion of short hospice stays (≤7 days) together with higher proportions of longer stays (≥181 days) among advanced versus mild-to-moderately severe dementia decedents. Hospice access and lengths of stay among US states varied widely.
CONCLUSIONS: Over 40% of US NH decedents have mild-to-moderately severe or advanced dementia. For these NH decedents, access to and duration of Medicare hospice has increased. However, there is considerable variation in hospice use across US states.
Department of Community Health, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA. Susan_Miller@brown.edu