Over one-quarter of Medicare payments are made for patients in the last year of their lives. There can be a disconnect between what patients want in terms of medical care and treatment at the end of their lives and what actually happens once 911 is called. There have been attempts to address this disconnect through development of advance directive documents (which can go missing over time or be misinterpreted).
Here are some resources to help in end of life planning.
- Gundersen Health System: Advance care planning, making choices http://www.gundersenhealth.org/advance-care
- American Hospital Association: Put it in writing http://www.aha.org/advocacy-issues/initiatives/piiw/index.shtml
- National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization: Download your state’s advance directives http://www.caringinfo.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3289
- Aging with Dignity: Five wishes. https://agingwithdignity.org/five-wishes/individuals-and-families
Gundersen Health System has implemented an advance directive program that has resulted in an almost perfect match between a dying patient’s wishes and treatment decisions. Also, the cost of care during the last two years of life, as well as the intensity of hospital care during this period, is lower than the national average.
Source: Fifer, J.J. (2015, Nov.). Time to break the last taboo. HFM. Healthcare Financial Management, 69(11), 28. Retrieved from http://www.hfma.org/Content.aspx?id=42943