A nonprofit watchdog group says more than 30 percent of dying North Carolinians receive hospice services in some form.
The Carolinas Center for Hospice and End of Life Care says the
amount of hospice care provided has doubled in the past five years.
Nearly 36-thousand North Carolina patients went into hospice care
last year and stayed for an average of 68 days. That represents an
increase of about 20 percent per person compared with 2002.
The data reflects a national trend. the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization says Medicare-financed hospice care is likely to reach eleven billion dollar next year after growing by about a billion dollar annually.
Greater demand for end-of-life care has also brought an increasing presence of for-profit providers, and there's concern that such groups aren't working in the interest of patients.