For dying nursing home residents, the prevalence of symptoms and care utilization prior to death has yet to be empirically described for a population-based sample. Yet, related work has suggested that the quality of care for dying nursing home residents is less optimal. The provision of Medicare hospice care in nursing homes offers a means for improving terminal care in nursing homes. However, other than controversial findings emanating from the U.S. Office of Inspector General's (OIG's) hospice studies, there is a dearth of evaluative research on the comparative costs and the benefits of Medicare hospice care in nursing homes. In this article, we discuss current knowledge concerning the dying experience of nursing home residents and of the influence of the Medicare hospice benefit in nursing homes. In doing so, we critique the OIG's study of hospice care in nursing homes and we raise concerns regarding access to the Medicare hospice benefit in nursing homes. We conclude by delineating the research needed to more fully understand the dying experience of nursing home residents and the influence of Medicare hospice care provision on this experience.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine