Many Obese Patients Not Getting Optimal Hospice Care

Many Obese Patients Not Getting Optimal Hospice Care

TUESDAY, Feb. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Obese patients are less likely to spend their last days in hospice care and less likely to die at home, according to a study published online Feb. 7 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study authors tracked the experiences 5,677 Medicare beneficiaries who died between 1998 and 2012. The investigators looked at weight levels and death in hospice care. The patients were categorized by three body mass index measurements: 20, 30 and 40 kg/m².

The 117 severely obese patients died earlier, at an average age of 72. Patients with a normal weight (2,509 patients) died at an average age of 82. Overall, 34.7 percent of those in the study received hospice care, but just 23.1 percent of the severely obese did. The severely obese spent four fewer days in hospice care than those with a BMI of 20 kg/m². The researchers found that 55.0 percent of those with a BMI of 40 kg/m² died at home. The number was 61.3 percent for those with a BMI of 20 kg/m².

“Among community-dwelling decedents in the Health and Retirement Study, increasing obesity was associated with reduced hospice use and in-home death and higher Medicare expenditures in the last six months of life,” the authors write.

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