Why Do Patients In Hospice Live Longer Than Expected?

Several studies have now confirmed what many suspected:  patients who receive palliative care and hospice, not only live longer than those who do not receive it, but do so with fewer costs (for themselves and the healthcare system), a better quality of life, and less depression.
In addition to the study I mentioned in the last column—how palliative care extends life for those receiving chemotherapy—another publication has shown that hospice patients live an average of 29 days longer than an identical group not in hospice.
Because palliative care and hospice focus on comfort, people feel better which results in several positive things:
1. They are more likely to keep their doctor’s appointments, complete helpful treatments, and take appropriate medicines;
2. They tend to eat better, exercise more, and socialize more, which helps them emotionally and physically, improving their ability to fight illness;
3. They are less likely to experience medical crises, hospitalizations, and invasive procedures, which helps avoid a significant risk of side-effects and additional suffering.
4. Finally, hospice services help families navigate complex healthcare systems and make more informed decisions.
Since the goal of medicine is to relieve suffering, palliative care and hospice help patients (and their doctors) by always ensuring that comfort will be available when they have a condition we cannot cure.