Dr. Laura Hanson comments on a recent Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital study that suggests patients with kidney failure are half as likely to receive hospice as patients with cancer and heart disease, although they stand to benefit greatly from it.

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Dr. Laura Hanson

Dr. Laura Hanson was recently interviewed for a Reuters Health article after reviewing a study that found delayed hospice care is common for dialysis patients. The study examined data from over 770,000 patients covered by Medicare who died between 2000 and 2014. When they died, only one in five were receiving hospice services.

In the article, Hanson says “any use of hospice greatly improves the opportunity to avoid dying in a hospital.” She also says “patients who enroll in hospice earlier are also avoiding intensive care and hospital stays in the month prior to death” and by accepting hospice earlier, a patient can make additional choices about care.

Hanson is the director of UNC’s Palliative Care Program, professor of medicine in the division of geriatrics and associate director of the geriatrics fellowship program.

To read the article visit: Reuters Health.