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A Growing Elderly Population Challenges Hospice Industry

Some patients may be better off being allowed to pass away peacefully and with as little pain as possible, when death becomes inevitable.

Changes in society, including a growing population of elderly and funding questions has created challenges for the hospice industry, according to Politico in "Hospice in crisis."

The hospice care industry was developed, when a need arose for patients to be able to pass away peacefully and with as little pain as possible. A hospice facility is now where many people live out their last days, with support from hospice staff and their families.

One of the biggest issues for hospice is the availability of funding.

Medicare pays facilities a per patient per diem for in-facility care and slightly less for in-home services.

That funding faces a looming crisis, as the number of elderly people continues to rise. More people will need hospice treatment.

Another thing that makes funding an issue, is that more and more people are choosing to stay at home to pass away, instead of using facilities. There is often neither the money nor the availability of trained professionals to provide proper in-home care.

In some cases, that means many people end up in even more expensive emergency rooms and hospital beds.

It is not known how the hospice industry will adapt to these challenges and how Medicare will be funded to pay for the increased spending needs that are certain to come in the future.

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