PROVIDENCE, R.I., July 29 (UPI) -- People whose loved ones received hospice care reported an improved quality of care and that the quality of dying was improved, U.S. researchers say.
Lead author Dr. Joan Teno, a Brown University gerontologist, and colleagues analyzed 538 survey responses of family members of nursing home patients who died of dementia -- 260 received hospice care and 278 did not.
Family members of hospice recipients were 51 percent less likely to report unmet needs and concerns with quality of care and were 49 percent less likely to report an unmet need for management of pain, the study says. They were 50 percent less likely to have wanted more emotional support before their loved one's death and they rated the peacefulness of dying and the quality of dying more positively than families whose loved ones did not receive hospice care, Teno says.
The survey indicates those who felt their loved one received hospice care "too late" had stronger concerns about care and support in almost every one of the survey's many measures and they felt worse off than people who had no hospice care at all.
"These are people who get slammed around the healthcare system in the last days of life," Teno says in a statement. "These are people who go from an acute care hospital to a nursing home in the last 24 hours. They are reacting to a set of circumstances that shouldn't have occurred."
The findings are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.