A few days ago, the United Health Foundation released the 2015 edition of America’s Health Rankings: Senior Report.
ICU use is one core measure. “Overusing the critical care system is costly and often goes against the wishes of dying patients. While not correlated with better outcomes or longer life, intensive care unit (ICU) use is correlated with
availability of ICU beds; this could indicate a supply-induced
demand. Areas with higher ICU use are high-use areas in other aspects as well, including physician visits and hospitalizations. Because such a high volume of Medicare spending is for care of chronic illness in the last years of life, it is possible to increase both cost savings and patient-preference satisfaction by decreasing ICU use.”
In New Jersey, 23.5 percent of seniors spent seven or more days in the ICU during their last six months of life, the highest rate in the nation. In contrast, the rates in Vermont, Maine, Idaho, Oregon, and Vermont are all under 6%.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.