In the United States, over 80 percent of deaths result from long-term diseases like heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, says, “Americans are treated and Over-Treated, to Death. In addition, over 80 percent of patients with long-term diseases are not in favor of spending their final days in a hospital, but the majority does.
The time spent in hospice care before death is decreasing, because people with incurable diseases wait too long to begin. Of those who chose hospice care, in 2008, one-third of them had care for less than a week. While terminal patients are spending less time in hospice care, hospital costs for those on Medicare are increasing during the last six months of their life. In addition, almost a third of Medicare costs incur in the last two years terminally ill patients live. People often become sicker as death nears, because the drugs they take are worse than the disease.
Doctors don’t know when a patient will die, but they generally can determine when their disease is no longer curable. When that time arrives, maybe the priority should shift from curing the disease, to easing the patients remaining life.
Hospice care involves the compassionate care of people close to death. The object is to allow them to be as comfortable as possible, yet live their remaining time to the most fulfilling degree possible. The ideal scenario is for them to be home with their families, instead of in the barren surroundings of a hospital hooked up to a machine, or with wires and tubes protruding from their body. If the person in hospice care is the beneficiary of a medical miracle and improves, she can begin receiving treatments again.
Many patients are not aware of the details of hospice care, and many doctors do not sit down with the patient and family to discuss them. Maybe now is the time to begin that exercise on a regular basis.
The health care bill that passed through Congress was to make health care available to millions who do not have any, because of the cost of premiums. Why not approach the problem from the standpoint that excess medical treatment is a large part of why health care is so expensive.
Marilyn Marchione: Americans are treated and Over-Treated, to Death: Yahoo! News.mgt