Hospice Care-Seniors is the percentage of decedents aged 65 and older who were enrolled in hospice care during the last 6 months of life after a diagnosis with 1 of 9 chronic conditions with a high probability of death. The senior ranks are based on 2010 data (The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinic Practice, Lebanon, N.H.).
Hospice care is utilized by terminally ill patients and can be provided in a health care facility or in one’s home. Its emphasis is on pain control and emotional support of the patient and their family. Hospice care is available to a person of any age, though seniors made up 83.3 percent of hospice patients in 2011. Most hospice care is provided in the home, and the number of individuals receiving this care has drastically increased in the past decade. This increase has been in part due to the increase in Medicare-certified hospices, along with the fact that Medicare is the largest payer of hospice care. There is a huge disparity among hospice users, with white patients accounting for 82.8 percent of hospice patients in 2011. More information and resources on hospice care can be found at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (http://www.nhpco.org/).
 National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America. October 2012:1-15.
The measures tracked by America's Health Rankings are those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For a state to improve the health of its population, efforts must focus on these measures, these determinants of health.
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