Patients surviving six months in hospice care: Who are they?

Lindsay R. Rothenberg, Danielle Doberman, Lin E. Simon, Jan Gryczynski, Grace Cordts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: On January 1, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began requiring U.S. hospices to conduct a "face-to- face" (F2F) assessment of eligibility for continued hospice care with patients entering their third certification period (180 days after initial enrollment). Understanding which patient populations require F2F assessment is important for evaluating the impact of the CMS regulation and gauging the appropriateness of the 6-month prognosis criteria for different patient groups. Methods: Retrospective program records were obtained for patients enrolled in a large hospice 6 months prior to implementation of the CMS regulation (N=375). Patients who remained in hospice and received a F2F (n=140) were compared to patients who were no longer in hospice (n=235) on demographics, terminal condition (categorized as debility/dementia, cancer, or other), presence of serious comorbidity, length of stay, setting of care prior to admission, and hospice outcome using bivariate statistics. Predictors of F2F recertification were examined using a multivariable logistic regression model controlling for demographics, setting of care prior to admission, comorbidity, and primary terminal diagnosis. Results: At the bivariate level, patients who received an F2F were older (p<0.001), and more likely to have lived in a facility care setting prior to hospice admission (p<0.001) than their non-F2F counterparts. Findings from the logistic regression analysis indicate that initial setting of care (odds ratio [OR] for inpatient versus home=0.20; p=0.01), presence of serious comorbidity (OR=2.84; p<0.001), and primary diagnosis (OR for debility/dementia versus cancer=3.35; p<0.001) were significant predictors of F2F recertification. Conclusions: Unlike hospice patients with cancer, patients with a primary diagnosis of dementia or debility are more likely to remain in hospice care beyond 6 months and require F2F recertification. Still, these patients need the services provided by hospice care and may be limited by the 6-month recertification criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)899-905
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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