(Snippets from the frontline)
Living shorter lives
Life Expectancy in the United States decreased last year for the first time in 23 years. Despite advancing technology, innovation in drug therapy, calorie watching, and cholesterol measuring, we are living shorter lives. Why?
Fingers are pointed at YOU for not exercising while perched in front of computers or TV.
Instead, let me point my finger at another possibility: Greed and money associated with end-of-life care.
Statistically, a significant amount of money is spent on a patient in the last few years of life. But individually, patients now have more clearly defined how much care and effort they want from their physician as we age (through DNR, Polst, Advanced Directives, etc.).
Going on hospice is a money-saver for hospitals and insurance companies (especially HMOs), and can be disguised as empathetic care. Patients sometimes are intentionally pressured into hospice, when in reality they are not at end-of-life. There are many, if given the chance, who could survive their illness.
While hospice is critically important, be aware of those that might financially manipulate a worthy end-of-life program. Your loved one could benefit, and Life Expectancy might improve.
Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.