Published on March 27, 2023
New research from NORC at the University of Chicago shows that hospice care improves quality of life for patients, families and caregivers and contributed to $3.5 billion in savings for Medicare in 2019.
Key findings from the study:
- At any length of stay, hospice care benefits patients, family members, and caregivers, including increased satisfaction and quality of life, improved pain control, reduced physical and emotional distress, and reduced prolonged grief and other emotional distress.
- Hospice is associated with lower Medicare end-of-life expenditures when hospice lengths of stay are longer than 10 days. In other words, earlier enrollment in hospice reduces Medicare spending even further.
- Hospice stays of six months or more result in savings for Medicare. For those who spent at least six months in hospice in the last year of their lives, spending was on average 11 percent lower than the adjusted spending of beneficiaries who did not use hospice.
- NORC estimates that Medicare spending for those who received hospice care was $3.5 billion less than it would have been had they not received hospice care.