As you’ve likely noticed, the Dartmouth Atlas team has now focused its lens on end-of-life care and found, not surprisingly, what amounts to “more of the same.” Kaiser Health News’ Jordan Rau has the nuts and bolts, while Joanne Kenen, writing for Miller-McCune Magazine, takes a long view on the story, putting it into the context of popular Dartmouth Atlas pieces (think McAllen, Texas) and end-of-life outliers (La Crosse, Wis.). While you’ll have to check out her story for the in-depth version, here’s Kenen’s summary of the report:
Overall 1 in 3 of these patients died in the hospital, sometimes in the ICU and sometimes on life support, but there was significant variation from one region or even one hospital to another. Six percent of the patients received chemotherapy in the last two weeks of life, but in some regions and academic medical centers the rate went above 10 percent. Half got hospice but often for just a few days, too little for them and their families to fully benefit from the medical and psychosocial assistance and comfort hospice can offer.
If you’re looking for caveats, be sure to hit the second half of Rau’s story.