Study Shows Costs of End-of-Life Care Can Vary by Region
As individuals age, they necessarily begin to encounter health issues that necessitate an increase in care. Medical emergencies, decreases in mobility, and cognitive decline all may hasten the aging process. However, when individuals are facing their final days, they often prefer to remain in the comfort of their own homes, although perhaps with the assistance of home health care agencies or others. A recent study shows that the end-of-life options that are available to individuals in large part depend upon on region of the country in which they live. The lack of available options may be attributable to situations in which Medicaid or Medicare is funding the costs of the individual’s care.
The study, which initially was reported on in the Wall Street Journal, used Medicare data to analyze the last six months of life for individuals who died in 2012 and 2013. The goal was to determine how much time each individual spent in hospitals or other facilities across multiple different regions of the country. One researcher hypothesized that the amount of time spent in facilities, as funded by Medicare, might not be of any medical or personal benefit to the patient.
For instance, in some regions of the country, only nursing homes and hospitals are available choices for patients facing their final days, which typically are not preferable choices, either from the perspective of a patient or a caregiver. In other regions, however, hospice and in-home care was more available to treat these individuals. A lack of availability of these alternatives to medical facilities was primary observed to be in rural areas. Although nursing home care is much more expensive than home health care, if there are no home health aides, visiting nurses, or other medical care providers available to help an individual who wishes to be cared for at home, there simply are no other choices.
The nursing home attorneys of the Law Offices of The Elder Law Firm PC pride themselves on advocating on behalf of clients who need long-term care, including end-of-life care. We can help you make the decisions that are best for you and your family, in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. Don’t hesitate to call our office today and learn how we can help.