Friday, April 22, 2011

More senior citizens are dying at home - Miami-Dade -

After years of experts and patients saying people at the end of life might be more comfortable dying at home, a new study says that may finally be happening: fewer seniors in the United States and South Florida are dying in hospitals.

But the same survey finds that in the last months of life for seniors throughout the United States and especially in Miami, the trend is for more of them to see large numbers of specialists and to spend more time in expensive intensive care units.

Those are the results of the latest study from the Dartmouth Atlas, a project of the Dartmouth Medical School. The project for years has been using Medicare data to expose anomalies in healthcare costs and wide geographic disparities in expenses.

“Miami is practically off the charts,” says David Goodman, a Dartmouth researcher who was the lead author of the study. “It really continues to stand out” for having the highest costs and most extensive treatments in the last months of life, even when adjusted for age, ethnicity, race and severity of illness.

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