A crisis is looming in the American health care system. The population of the United States is ageing. Over the next quarter century, the number of people older than 85 years will double. The massive generation of baby boomers is moving rapidly toward old age, and the reality that 65 million Americans will grow old and face the end of life together over the next thirty years is cause for national alarm. At the heart of the crisis is not only, the fear that the cost of caring for these Americans may bankrupt an already fragile health care system, but also the fear that the kind of care provided at the end of life for all patients, regardless of age, is wholly inadequate and ineffective in meeting end of life health care needs. Over the past twenty-five years a little known program – hospice – has revolutionized at least one part of the health care system – end of life care. Hospice has become the health care system’s safety net for the last phase of life. Unfortunately, it is also the most under-utilized benefit in the American health care system.
KeywordsNursing Home Hospice Care Nursing Home Setting Hospice Patient Medicare Benefit
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