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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 23

of 'Hospice: Philosophy of care and appropriate utilization in the United States'

An alternative in terminal care: results of the National Hospice Study.
Greer DS, Mor V, Morris JN, Sherwood S, Kidder D, Birnbaum H
J Chronic Dis. 1986;39(1):9.
Hospice is a program of supportive services for terminally ill patients and their families, provided either at home or in designated inpatient settings, which is purported to improve patient and family quality of life at lower cost than conventional terminal care. The National Hospice Study was a multi-site, quasi-experimental study to compare the experiences of terminal cancer patients and their families in hospices with those of similar patients and families receiving conventional terminal care. The results indicate that, although care is different in hospices, e.g. lesser utilization of aggressive interventional therapy and diagnostic testing, patients' quality of life is similar in the hospice and conventional care systems with the exception of pain and symptom control, which may be better in the inpatient hospice setting. Hospice patients are more likely to die at home and their families are satisfied with that outcome. Otherwise, no consistent superiority of family outcome was associated with the hospice approach. The cost of hospice care is less than that of conventional terminal care for patients in hospices without inpatient facilities, but the cost of hospice appears to be equivalent to conventional care for patients in hospices having beds.