Bridging the DNR Gap Is The Greatest Value You Can Bestow

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Here’s a worst-case scenario, which isn’t all that uncommon.

Following a severe illness, injury, or surgical procedure, an elderly person requires prolonged care in a skilled nursing facility. They also undergo multiple hospitalizations, including ICU stays. Total end-of-life care expenses could easily exceed $300,000.

Even without extended stays in a nursing home, the cost is significant. Healthcare expenditures in the last year of life average $80,000, and $155,000 in the last three years.

What value does the patient often receive?

Research has shown that aggressive interventions and prolonged hospitalizations at the end of life don’t necessarily lead to better outcomes. Patients who receive palliative and less aggressive end-of-life care often have improved quality of life.

Another study found that aggressive healthcare measures at the end of life were associated with decreased quality of care. In contrast, early palliative care referrals meant less intensive care, improved outcomes, and significant cost savings.