Hospice May Aid Some Depressed Survivors
Hospice programs may help some surviving spouses deal with depression, a new study suggests. The study was based on a national survey of 1,016 older adults whose spouses died after a serious illness. Researchers also used Medicare records. About 30% of those who died had received hospice care for at least 3 days. Overall, 52% of surviving spouses had an increase in depression symptoms over time. This was true whether they had been involved with hospice or not. Depression symptoms improved for about 28% of hospice users' survivors and 22% of those not involved with hospice. Researchers also looked just at survivors who had been primary caregivers. Results were similar. These differences were small enough that they could have been the result of chance. Then researchers adjusted the numbers based on other information.