Quality Hospice Care Takes Time

Hospice care provides enhanced benefits at the end of life, but most families choose hospice when their loved one has just days or hours to live.

Studies and surveys confirm the tremendous physical, emotional, spiritual and financial benefits of hospice care. Yet, the median length of service (MLOS) is 24 days.1

Hospice During the Last Six Months of Life

By definition, hospice is intended to assist patients and families during the last six months of life. Experts agree that hospice care is most beneficial when patients elect to receive hospice care for months, rather than weeks or days. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management shows that hospice patients live an average of 29 days longer than those who do not choose hospice2.

While hospice can positively impact a patient in crisis, it can do so much more if it’s received for a longer period. The more time the hospice team has to support the patient and family, the better the quality of life for the patient and the better the memories for loved ones following the loss.

With time to get physical symptoms controlled, there also is time to evaluate psychological and emotional pain.

Patients often learn to embrace this important stage of life, making connections, repairing relationships, rediscovering simple pleasures and making peace. Hospice helps patients live each day.

1NHPCO Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America. Alexandria, VA: National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Rev. ed. April 2018.

2Connor, Stephen R., et. al. Comparing hospice and nonhospice patient survival among patients who die within a three-year window. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 33(3):238-46.

Call VITAS to learn more about hospice and palliative care options.


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