facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Racial disparities in hospice use

Dec. 26, 2008 at 11:36 PM   |   Comments

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Rules on hospice care for those with limited life expectancy restrict usage by those most in need, disproportionately affecting blacks, U.S. researchers said.

The study, scheduled to be published in the Feb. 1 issue of Cancer, said eligibility criteria for hospice services should be reconsidered.

To enroll in hospice, patients must have a prognosis of six months or less if their illness runs its usual course. They must also accept the palliative nature -- reducing the severity of symptoms instead of striving to cure the disease -- of hospice care.

Dr. David Casarett and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania interviewed 283 patients who were receiving cancer treatment at six oncology clinics.

Patients were asked about their perceived need for five hospice services and their preferences for continuing cancer treatment, and they were followed for six months or until death.

Casarett's team found that African-American patients had stronger preferences for continuing their cancer treatments as well as greater perceived needs for hospice services -- poorer patients wanted more services.

"These findings suggest that the hospice eligibility criteria of Medicare and other insurers requiring patients to give up cancer treatment contribute to racial disparities in hospice use," the study authors said in a statement. "Moreover, these criteria do not select those patients with the greatest needs for hospice services."

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
CDC: Get your flu vaccine CDC: Get your flu vaccine
2
Study shows one dose of antidepressants changes the brain Study shows one dose of antidepressants changes the brain
3
16 U.S. food makers surpass calorie-counting pledge 16 U.S. food makers surpass calorie-counting pledge
4
Morning exercise helps calm ADHD symptoms in children Morning exercise helps calm ADHD symptoms in children
5
Yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies at 95 Yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies at 95
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback