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Are Dying Seniors in New Jersey Getting the Care They Need?

Nearly one-third of elderly Americans rely on skilled nursing care during their last few months of life. However, many might benefit more from palliative care services such as hospice. This trend, highlighted by a recent analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, raises questions about whether dying seniors are receiving the most appropriate care for their terminal conditions.


Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) found that 31 percent of Medicare beneficiaries recently released from the hospital used the program's skilled nursing benefit in their last six months of life. Surprisingly, many of these seniors did not take advantage of Medicare hospice coverage, even though it is available to those living in nursing homes who are near the end of life.


Understanding the Care Options


Skilled Nursing Care

  • Purpose: Skilled nursing facilities primarily focus on helping seniors regain functionality and prolong their lives through medical interventions.

  • Services: Includes physical therapy, wound care, and other rehabilitative services.


Hospice Care

  • Purpose: Hospice care aims to manage the physical and mental pain of terminal illnesses, providing comfort and support to both the patient and their family.

  • Services: Pain management, emotional and spiritual support, and assistance with daily activities.


This disparity in care choices raises concerns about whether these ailing adults are getting the optimal care for their terminal conditions. Not all nursing homes are equipped with the staff and resources necessary to provide proper palliative care. According to Dr. Peter Boling of Virginia Commonwealth University, "The use of the hospice care benefit improves the quality of end-of-life care processes for many patients in nursing homes."


Financial Considerations

Cost considerations play a significant role in the decision to opt for skilled nursing care over hospice care. While Medicare covers up to 100 days of nursing home care for seniors hospitalized for three or more days, hospice care requires additional financial contributions for living expenses such as lodging and meals. These costs can be covered through private pay, Medicaid, or supplemental insurance, but they may still pose a financial burden.


A Case for Better End-of-Life Care

Researchers and experts argue that dying seniors could benefit from a plan that better integrates palliative care services into Medicare's nursing home coverage. This approach would ensure that seniors receive the comprehensive care they need during their final months of life.


Image showing elderly care in New Jersey, highlighting the need for improved end-of-life care services.

Contact AmoryCare for Hospice Care Assistance For more information on how AmoryCare can assist and provide support for seniors in New Jersey, please contact us:


Service Areas in New Jersey:

  • Union County: Berkeley Heights, Summit, Linden, Scotch Plains, Westfield, Murray Hill, Plainfield, Mountainside, Garwood, Clark, New Providence, Elizabeth, Roselle Park, Winfield, Kenilworth, Vauxhall, Cranford, Springfield, Union, Fanwood, Rahway.

  • Morris County: Bernardsville, Boonton, Brookside, Budd Lake, Butler, Califon, Cedar Knolls, Chatham, Chester, Denville, Dover, East Hanover, Far Hills, Flanders, Florham Park, Gillette, Greenvillage, Hibernia, Ironia, Kenvil, Lake Hopatcong, Landing, Ledgewood, Lincoln Park, Long Valley, Madison, Mendham, Millington, Montville, Morris Plains, Morristown, Mt. Arlington, Mt. Freedom, Mt. Tabor, Mountain Lakes, Netcong, New Vernon, Newfoundland, Oak Ridge, Parsippany, Pequannock, Picatinny Arsenal, Pine Brook, Pompton Plains, Port Murray, Randolph, Riverdale, Rockaway, Schooley’s Mountain, Stirling, Succasunna, Towaco, Wharton, Whippany.

  • Essex County: Livingston, Roseland, Essex Fells, West Orange, South Orange, Short Hills, Millburn, Maplewood, Montclair, Verona, Cedar Grove, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville, Nutley, West Caldwell, Fairfield, Irvington, Newark, East Orange.

  • Bergen County: Allendale, Alpine, Bergenfield, Bogota, Carlstadt, Cliffside Park, Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, East Rutherford, Edgewater, Elmwood Park, Emerson, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Fair Lawn, Fairview, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Garfield, Glen Rock, Hackensack (county seat), Harrington Park, Hasbrouck Heights, Haworth, Hillsdale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Leonia, Little Ferry, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Maywood, Midland Park, Montvale, Moonachie, New Milford, North Arlington, Northvale, Norwood, Oakland, Old Tappan, Oradell, Palisades Park, Paramus, Park Ridge, Ramsey, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Ridgewood, River Edge, River Vale, Rochelle Park, Rockleigh, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Saddle River, South Hackensack, Teaneck, Tenafly, Teterboro, Upper Saddle River, Waldwick, Wallington, Washington Township, Westwood, Wood-Ridge, Woodcliff Lake, and Wyckoff.

  • Passaic County: Bloomingdale, Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Pompton Lakes, Prospect Park, Ringwood, Totowa, Wanaque, Wayne, West Milford, Woodland Park.



By addressing the gap in end-of-life care and integrating hospice services more effectively, we can ensure that dying seniors receive the compassionate and comprehensive care they deserve during their final days.





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