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End-of-Life Pain, Depression May Be Growing

Pain, depression and other symptoms may be growing even more common in the last year of life, despite efforts to improve care, a study suggests. The study was based on a survey of older Americans that is done every 2 years. Researchers looked at surveys from 1998 through 2010. During that time, about 7,200 people who were surveyed died. Researchers asked their family members about symptoms their loved one had in the last year of life. Over time, family members were more likely to report symptoms such as pain, depression and confusion. They reported pain for about 61% of those who died, compared with 54% in the first survey. Reports of depression rose from 45% to 57% of those who died. Fatigue, severe weight loss and some other symptoms held steady. Researchers said it's unclear why these increases occurred. Part of the reason could be an increase in awareness.

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