The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization recently released its 2011 facts and figures report. Hospice use continues to rise in the United States, no surprises there. Some of the stuff I found interesting in the report:
- Almost 42 percent of all deaths in the United States took place under hospice care in 2010.
- The median time people spent in hospice care before dying was about 20 days.
- Sixty-six percent of hospice patients died in their homes; 42 percent in a private residence other than their own homes; 21 percent in a "hospice house" and 18 percent in nursing homes.
- 77 percent of those who used hospice were Caucasian; just 0.3 percent were Native American.
- Hospice patients died mostly of cancer (35.6 percent), followed by heart disease (14.3 percent).
- The first hospice program in the United States opened in 1974. Currently, there are more than 5,000.
- The Medicare hospice benefit, enacted by Congress in 1982, is the major source of funding for hospice care.