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33.3 percent

June 13, 2011

Hospice care for those dying of cancer can ease a patient’s pain and offer more comfort than is available in a hospital -- at a lower cost. But in New Jersey, only 33.3 percent of chronic-care patients on Medicare use a hospice, according to the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, which is produced by the Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

That’s about average for the United States and in line with most neighboring states. In Pennsylvania, 35.3 percent of chronic-care cancer patients on Medicare use a hospice service, and in Delaware it’s 42.4 percent. New York is much lower, at 23.8 percent.

For those who do use a hospice facility, the average number of days resident before dying in New Jersey is 11.9. That is far fewer than most states. Pennsylvanie has an average of 13.3 days per decedent, and Delaware residents use hospice for 18.8 days. New York residents, however, typically use a hospice for only 8.8 days.

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