Hospice deaths in nursing homes declined in 2012: report

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Fewer nursing home residents died while receiving hospice care in 2012 than in 2011, according to a recently released report from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

In 2012, around 17% of hospice patients died in a nursing home, the report states. This was a decline from just over 18% the year before. However, longer lifespans and an increasing incidence of chronic disease suggest that hospice care will become more common in nursing facilities.

“An increasing number of these individuals reside in nursing homes prior to their death,” the report states, referring to elderly people with chronic conditions. “This rise has been mirrored by growth in the number of hospice patients who reside in nursing homes.”

The structure of the hospice industry remained essentially unchanged between 2011 and 2012, NHPCO found. The majority of hospice agencies are independent, freestanding operations. About a fifth are part of a hospital system, and 17% are part of a home health agency. About 5% are part of a nursing home.

Click here to access the complete report.