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May 25, 1994

Hospice Care: The Cheaper Alternative

Author Affiliations

Greenville Hospital System Greenville, SC

JAMA. 1994;271(20):1576-1577. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510440036024

To the Editor.  —Hospice care is the logical choice for many terminally ill patients since it allows the patient to remain at home as much as possible. According to a 1992 Gallup poll, nine of 10 Americans prefer this option.1 But instead of staying at home, dying Americans are usually in hospitals during their last 2 months of life spending vast sums of money2 (and written communication, David L. Felsenthal, research manager, The Advisory Board Company, Washington, DC, No vember 18, 1993) to get what they say they do not want, ie, expensive and commonly painful acute terminal care, frequently in intensive care units.In addition to being the alternative people say they want, hospice care is also less costly for the terminally ill. Looking at the economic savings of hospice care, we completed a retrospective study of charges incurred by patients with comparable diagnoses of lung, colon,