More US veterans are using hospice due to the Comprehensive End-of-Life Care (CELC) initiative implemented by the Department of Veterans Affairs initiative to improve care at the end of life. @LeadingAge

More US veterans are using hospice due to the Comprehensive End-of-Life Care (CELC) initiative implemented by the Department of Veterans Affairs initiative to improve care at the end of life. The findings of a new study,published in the July 2017 Health Affairs, show that the initiative encouraged more hospice use among military veterans, and that the growth outpaced the rate of increase among demographically comparable members of the public receiving Medicare.

Through the four-year initiative, which began in 2009, the VA developed new inpatient hospice units, palliative care staff, palliative care training, and mentoring for leaders and staff, a systematic quality monitoring program, and outreach to community providers outside VA medical centers through the “We Honor Veterans” campaign.

The researchers estimated that the changes resulted in an additional 17,046 veterans receiving hospice care in fiscal years 2010 to 2014. “Compared to enrolled veterans’ hospice use in the years before CELC began, their use of hospice after the initiative increased substantially, and rates of increased use were approximately two percentage points higher than the increases observed for Medicare beneficiaries not enrolled in VA health care,” says Susan Miller, a professor of health services, policy, and practice in the School of Public Health at Brown University. The growth was 7.6 percent among VA-only veterans, 6.9 percent among dually enrolled veterans who used VA care, 7.6 percent among veterans who blended the VA and Medicare, and 7.9 percent among dually enrolled veterans who used Medicare.

The VA began work to establish a system-wide hospice and palliative care program in 2002. Over the decade, the VA saw clear growth in hospice use. During the same period, hospice use also increased among the general population. The researchers designed the study to determine whether the CELC initiative advanced growth beyond the trend seen in the general Medicare population. 

Published by LeadingAge. Click here for original link.


It’s National Healthcare Decisions Week , have you had a conversation with the people you love?

Jennings and Jennings Hospice, along with other national, state and community organizations, are taking part in an effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making—an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). As a participating organization, Jennings and Jennings Hospice are providing information and tools for the public to talk about their wishes with family, friends and healthcare providers, and execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living will) in accordance with Ohio state laws. 

Specifically, from April 16 – April 21, Jennings Hospice is welcoming the public throughout the day to call for free information about advance care planning and advance directive forms or with questions about palliative care, comfort care and end-of-life care.

“As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, we hope many more people in our community will have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said Judi Makan, Administrator of Jennings Hospice.  “Fewer families and healthcare providers will have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient, and healthcare providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance healthcare planning issues before a crisis and be better able to honor patient wishes when the time comes to do so.”

For more information about National Healthcare Decision Day, please visit www.nhdd.org.


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