"The effect is very negative for end-of-life care in the country. The way hospice is designed now may have worked fine 30 years ago, but it doesn’t work now and we need to think about alternatives."
U.S. health care has been in flux since 2010, with many aspects of health care reform still on hold. Hospice is one area that is still waiting for help with protecting the elderly and those in end-of-life care.
As reported quite recently through the Kaiser Health News, hospice care has yet to be expanded under the Medicare project set out three years ago.
The article titled “Medicare Lags In Project to Expand Hospice” examines the very real conflict between “curative” treatment and “palliative” treatment. The former is meant to cure a condition and thereby prolong life, and the latter is meant to ease the pain caused by a condition without a focus on affecting a cure.
Naturally, the curative and palliative treatments are often considered opposites. In fact, choosing palliative care would mean giving up all hope on curative care. Consequently, it is only natural that rapidly declining patients delay their entry into palliative hospice care.
The 2010 law was to begin inroads into exploring combined care, the possibility of both curative and palliative concurrently. Logically, this should ease transitions without forsaking hopes, likely reducing costs in the process. To date, however, this has not happened.
Health care planning is complicated, and since so much is at stake be sure to consult a professional when exploring your options.
Reference: Kaiser Health News (May 9, 2013) “Medicare Lags In Project to Expand Hospice”