A study released in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine Journal found that the surviving spouses of patients who received at least three days of hospice treatment were less likely to experience depression like symptoms after the patient’s death. As discussed in a Forbes article titled “Hospice Care Decreases Depression Symptoms In Surviving Spouses, Study Finds”, the study’s findings may be attributed to the fact that hospice treatments are not reserved solely for the patient, but family members may also receive spiritual and emotional counseling.
The study used data from over 1,000 deceased patients and their surviving spouse and monitored the surviving spouse’s mental health for two years after the death. The study found a decrease in depression symptoms in those who used hospice compared to those who did not. The strongest difference in mental health was found a year after the death. The findings of this study have been endorsed by many reputable agencies including National Institute on Aging and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
Hospice care serves over $1.5 million patients and has grown substantially over the past decade. These findings give further reason to consider hospice care for a loved one in need of end of life treatment.