General inpatient care is available for pain control or other acute symptom management, which can not be performed in other hospice settings. Typically, patients are upgraded to this level of care when managing symptoms in other settings is not possible. General inpatient care can be provided in a hospital, nursing facility, or other inpatient facilities.
The number of Medicare beneficiaries has progressively increased over the last five years of data available from 2014 to 2018, from 1.32 million people in 2014 to 1.55 million people in 2018. Of all the Medicare decedents in 2018, 50.7% of them received one day or more of hospice care and were enrolled into hospice care at their time of death (NHPCO, 2020).
In 2018, a staggering percentage of the patients on hospice were Caucasian 82%, 8.2% were Black or African American, 6.7% were Hispanic, 1.8% were Asian or Pacific Islander, 0.4% were Native American, and 0.5% were listed as other (NHPCO, 2020).
The top 3 diagnoses for hospice decedents in 2018 were cancer, circulatory or heart disease, and dementia. The average lifetime length of stay for hospice in 2018 was 89.6 days. Medicare paid hospice providers a total of 19.2 billion dollars for care provided in 2018, corresponding to an increase of 7.2% over the previous year (NHPCO, 2020).