Physician Education Essential to Ensure Timely Hospice Referrals

Posted Saturday, June 26, 2021

During the last four years, hospice referrals have increased substantially but more patients need it than are receiving it.  The key to have more patients access hospice care quicker points to the need for more physician education.

“The number of patients who received post-acute discharge instructions that included hospice increased from 3.1% in 2016 to 4.0% in 2020, according to a Trella Health study. The slight jump could be related to growing efforts to promote hospice utilization when appropriate, findings indicated. Providers supplying the discharge instructions were hospitals, home health agencies and long-term care or skilled nursing facilities.

“Hospice is growing but it’s still underutilized. Physician education is becoming increasingly accepting of end-of-life care and identifying where it’s appropriate, but there’s still more that can be done,” Carter Bakkum, senior data analyst of health care insight at Trella Health, told Hospice News. “It’s likely these patients could have been referred to hospice care directly after discharge from an acute care setting, so there may be a knowledge gap on the hospital providers in identifying patients who are appropriate for hospice care.””

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