Rise in hospice usage

More terminally ill patients are extending their life a little longer by taking advantage of hospices around the country.

In 2007, approximately 1.4 million people received hospice care, an increase of about 100,000 from the year before. About 41 percent of the patients who used hospices were diagnosed with cancer.

Rise in hospice usage

Those who decided to enter a hospice survived an average of 29 days longer compared to patients who did not enter such a facility, according to a new study from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

The new figures were released in honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. For the 30th consecutive year, the White House released a proclamation in honor of the initiative and hospice counselors who offered guidance during end-of-life situations.

"Through these and countless other acts of compassion, our nation's hospice caregivers lift up souls, offer peace of mind, and strengthen America's culture of life," said President George W Bush.

Hospice programs provide patients with pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support, and spiritual care. There are approximately 4,700 hospice facilities in the U.S.

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