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Keywords:

  • advanced dementia;
  • hospice;
  • nursing homes;
  • Medicare

Objectives

To examine differences in outcomes according to hospice status of skilled nursing facility (SNF) care recipients.

Design

Retrospective cohort.

Setting

Three thousand three hundred fifty-three U.S. nursing homes (NHs).

Participants

Four thousand three hundred forty-four persons with advanced dementia who died in NHs in 2006 and received SNF care within 90 days of death were studied, 1,086 of these also received hospice before death: 705 after SNF care, and 381 concurrent with SNF care.

Measurements

Treatments, persistent pain and dyspnea, and hospital death.

Results

Decedents with any hospice received fewer medications, injections, feeding tubes, intravenous fluids, and therapy services and more hypnotics than those without hospice (all P < .001). Decedents with hospice after SNF care received fewer antipsychotics and those with hospice concurrent with SNF care received more antipsychotics than those without (all P < .001). Multivariate logistic regressions showed that decedents with hospice after SNF had lower likelihood of persistent dyspnea (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 0.63, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.45–0.87) and hospital death (AOR = 0.02, 95% = CI 0.01, 0.07) than those without hospice. Decedents with hospice concurrent with SNF care had a higher likelihood of persistent pain (AOR = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.23, 2.19) and a lower likelihood of hospital death (AOR = 0.13, 95% CI = 0.07, 0.26) than those without hospice.

Conclusion

Residents dying with advanced dementia who received SNF care in the last 90 days of life had fewer aggressive treatments and lower odds of hospital death if they also received hospice care at any point during that time. Associations between hospice and persistent pain or dyspnea differed according to whether hospice care was received concurrent with or after SNF care.