‘Pre-Hospice’ Saves Money By Keeping People At Home Near The End Of Life
By Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News
“Gerald Chinchar isn’t quite at the end of life, but the end is not far away. The 77-year-old fell twice last year, shattering his hip and femur, and now gets around his San Diego home in a wheelchair. His medications fill a dresser drawer, and congestive heart failure puts him at high risk of emergency room visits and long hospital stays.
Chinchar, a Navy veteran who loves TV Westerns, said that’s the last thing he wants. He still likes to go watch his grandchildren’s sporting events and play blackjack at the casino. ‘If they told me I had six months to live or go to the hospital and last two years, I’d say leave me home,’ Chinchar said. ‘That ain’t no trade for me.’
Most aging people would choose to stay home in their last years of life. But for many, it doesn’t work out: They go in and out of hospitals, getting treated for flare-ups of various chronic illnesses. It’s a massive problem that costs the health care system billions of dollars and has galvanized health providers, hospital administrators and policymakers to search for solutions.
Sharp HealthCare, the San Diego health system where Chinchar receives care, has devised a way to fulfill his wishes and reduce costs at the same time. It’s a pre-hospice program called Transitions, designed to give elderly patients the care they want at home and keep them out of the hospital.”