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Study: End-of-Life Care Costs Less in Hospice

Cancer patients in hospice care are much less likely than other patients to receive aggressive end-of-life-care or die away from home, a new study finds. The study included more than 36,000 Medicare patients. All of them had advanced cancer. Half of them received hospice care. The others did not. About 74% of non-hospice patients died in hospitals or nursing homes. Only 14% of hospice patients died in these institutions. Non-hospice patients also had higher costs for hospital and intensive care, including procedures. Many of these costs were for treating infections, organ failure and other conditions, rather than cancer care. The average cost of care for the last year of life was $71,517 for non-hospice patients. Costs were $62,819 for a typical hospice patient. The Journal of the American Medical Association published the study. HealthDay News wrote about it November 11.

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