Terminally ill patients and their families often report higher levels of satisfaction with the care provided through hospice services. New research shows that starting hospice care sooner may be even more beneficial.

People often report that their loved ones are better cared for and more comfortable in a hospice. That can help the family with the grieving and acceptance processes. FOX News reports on a new study from the Harvard Medical School that provides new insights into hospice care in “Hospice care linked to higher family satisfaction.”

The research was conducted with 1,970 terminal cancer patients, approximately half of whom received hospice care. The study found that hospice care led to better pain-management, symptom relief and end-of-life care. Families of patients who received hospice care were more satisfied than the families of those who did not.

One important finding was that longer stays in a hospice were associated with greater amounts of satisfaction. Hospice stays longer than 30 days were the most beneficial.

Although many people think that hospice should be saved for the very end of life, but the findings of this study suggest that earlier hospice enrollment may be more beneficial. Dr. Alexi Wright of Harvard, who co-authored the study, wrote that “earlier hospice enrollment is associated with better symptom management, less pain, better quality of care, and a higher likelihood that patients will receive the care that they want in their own environment.”

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