May 20, 2013

Most people who are near the end of their lives prefer to spend their final days in the peaceful care of hospice or palliative care. However, studies show that an increasing number of dying patients are receiving overwhelming, invasive, and ultimately futile hospitalizations and procedures toward the end of their lives.

The study, published in a recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed that over the course of the 10-year study “the proportion of patients who spent part of their last month in an intensive care unit grew from 24% to 29%, and the percentage who were hooked to a ventilator rose from 8% to 9%. Among dying patients, the median number of disruptive moves—for example, from nursing home to hospital, from hospital to hospice, from rehabilitation facility to home—grew from 2.1 to 3.1.”

Learn more about the study’s findings and the further ramifications of aggressive end-of-life care versus hospice care in this article from the L.A. Times.