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"Why It Is So Hard To Die In Peace" - Robert J. Samuelson

  • The Washington Post
  • New York, NY
  • (2017-07-26 00:00:00.0)

For those of us who hoped the American attitudes toward death were shifting in ways that would promote a wider reconstruction of the health-care system, Health Affairs presents some discouraging news. The power to make health care more compassionate and cost-effective is limited. According to another study, the increase in hospice care is not substituting for expensive hospital care but adding to it. The study author, Melissa Aldridge, PhD, MPH, MBA, associate professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said, “What has emerged is a relatively new pattern of hospice use … Hospice enrollment has become an ‘add-on’ in health care after the extensive use of other health care services and within days of death.” Just whether the persistence of high-cost care reflects good medicine, a deep human craving to cling to life, or both is unclear. But the rhetoric about “end of life” care has changed more than reality.

- Melissa Aldridge, PhD, MPH, MBA, Associate Professor, Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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