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Ped hospice expenditures affected by ethnicity
Little research has been conducted about the use of pediatric hospice care, but a study published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine takes a look at who is using pediatric hospice and what factors affect the costs of pediatric hospice.1
The authors conducted an analysis of Medicaid administrative data and death certificates for 1,527 children who received coverage through the Florida Medicaid program. Only 11% of children used hospice, even though the home was the location of death for 55% of the children in the study. Children who eventually entered hospice care showed higher outpatient, inpatient, emergency, and pharmacy expenditures than children who did not use hospice.
Results suggest that black non-Hispanic, Hispanic, and children of other races had $730 to $880 fewer hospice expenditures than whites. Higher hospice expenditures ($970) were associated with longer enrollment spans.
The authors suggest that information in the study be used to develop interventions that will raise awareness of the hospice and palliative care services available to pediatric patients to improve the child and family's quality of life at the end of life.
1. Knapp CA, Shenkman EA, Marcu MI, et al. Pediatric palliative care: Describing hospice users and identifying factors that affect hospice expenditures. J Palliat Med 2009; 12:223-229.