Rutgers Health researchers find disparities in outcomes of hospice discharges

July 3, 2024
Often, the transition to a different care setting is burdensome for the health of the patient.

Black patients who leave hospice care and patients with short stays in hospice care are at increased risks for being admitted to a hospital after being discharged from hospice, according to Rutgers Health researchers.

Their study, published in JAMA Network Open, examined patient outcomes after hospice care discharges to determine what factors contribute to transitions that lead to negative health implications.

Using Medicare data from more than 115,000 patients from 2014 to 2019, researchers looked at different types of burdensome transitions out of hospice care, including patients admitted to a hospital after leaving care and patients who died while hospitalized. They sought to assess what individual patient, healthcare services and hospice organizational factors are associated with the different types of transition outcomes.

Researchers found that Black patients who had shorter hospice stays and received care from a for-profit hospice service had higher odds of a burdensome transition after they were discharged. About 42 percent of hospice patients who were discharged die within six months, “suggesting that uninterrupted hospice care may be appropriate for many individuals who were discharged,” the researchers found.

Inequitable access to healthcare services, as well as institutionalized racism, are important factors in racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes, according to previous research published in The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet.

Researchers also found that inpatient respite (services providing short-term relief for family caregivers) and general inpatient care (short-term hospital care for symptom management) were associated with lower odds of hospitalization and hospice readmission.

Rutgers Health release on Newswise