Recent studies have shown that hospice care may prolong survival as much as 29 days or more for terminally ill patients. Two studies in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management in 2004 and 2007 reported in both cases patients who chose hospice care lived an average of one month longer than similar patients who did not choose hospice care. In addition, a new study released by the New England Journal of Medicine found that some cancer patients who received palliative care lived, on average, almost two months longer than those who received standard care. Researchers also found that patients receiving palliative care correlated a higher quality of life through the final stages of their illness. “With earlier referral to a hospice program, patients may receive care that results in better management of symptoms, leading to stabilization of their condition and prolonged survival, “ wrote the authors of the study from the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers cited several factors that may have contributed to longer life among patients who chose hospice. Patients in a weakened condition sidestep the risks of over-treatment when they make the decision to receive hospice care.
Second, hospice care usually improves the monitoring and treatment patients receive.
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