How Hospice Care Might Change in the Future

With Baby Boomers nearing the age of retirement and health care technology changing fast, the hospice care industry won’t look the same forever. Forecasts suggest the number of Americans ages 65 and older will double from 46 million today to over 98 million by the year 2060. This means exponentially more patients will need end-of-life care over the next several decades. So how might the hospice care industry adjust to these changes? Here’s what you can expect from end-of-life care in the years to come.

The Rise of Pre-Hospice Services

Instead of going to a nursing home or assisted living facility, many seniors are choosing to stay in their home with the help of a live-in or part-time nurse and senior care products. While hospice care is reserved for patients expected to live another six months or less, more hospice care providers are starting to offer pre-hospice services as a way of providing more flexibility when managing a chronic illness. This means patients can stay in their own home and receive care from a visiting physician or nurse practitioner before they’re ready for hospice care. This can help patients save money on palliative care before relocating to a hospice care center or assisted living community. Some pre-hospice patients living together may even decide to share a caregiver as a way of limiting the cost of care.

More Competition Equals Better Customer Service

With the hospice care industry getting ready to double in size, more providers and companies will be looking to toss their hat into the ring and woo over new hospice patients. With more competition in the industry and changing patient attitudes toward health care, we should see a growing emphasis on improving the patient experience. Facilities and care providers willing to go the extra mile for their patients will be rewarded, including 24-hour admitting services, positive, individualized patient interactions, more transparency in terms of the cost of care, and convenient online booking services.

Treating Multiple Conditions at Once for Less

Over half of hospice patients today have dementia, heart disease, or other slow progressing disorders, which means care providers will need to learn how to respond to multiple conditions at once without dramatically inflating the cost of care. New treatment methods allow patients to live longer than in years past, which means they may be living with multiple chronic conditions and disorders by the time they’re eligible for hospice care. Providers will need to treat a variety of symptoms at once, individualizing care for each and every patient. Some providers may look to telemedicine as a way of reducing the cost of care overall, while focusing on a patient’s specific and evolving needs.
Hospice care may look radically different in the future than it does today. With pre-hospice care and senior care products, more patients are choosing to stay at home for as long as possible. Care providers must also figure out a way to treat patients dealing with multiple conditions at once. Stay up-to-date with changes to the hospice care industry as these trends continue to unfold.