20 Stats to Know about Hospice Care in the US

July 24, 2014  |  by WesleyLife

Hospice care is not just a place to go to die. Across the United States, over 5,500 hospices provide medical services for pain management, lend emotional support and offer spiritual resources and therapies as patients enter their last stage of life. At WesleyLife we offer all of those services and more to ensure that loved ones are as happy and comfortable as possible. Here is a list of 20 statistics that identify who receives hospice care in the U.S., what services are offered and how hospice care is helping America.


  1. The U.S. hospice industry has quadrupled in size since the millennium. Now, more than 65 percent of Americans spend their final stage of life in hospice care. (2014, Huffington Post)
  2. Every year, 1.6 million people enter hospice care. (2013, Forbes)
  3. Of all patients receiving hospice care, 66 percent received care at their own home. Only 27.4 percent received care at an inpatient location. (2013, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
  4. More females are served by hospices in America than are males. In 2012, females accounted for 56.4 percent of hospice admissions. (2013, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
  5. In 2012, patients older than age 85 accounted for 40.5 percent of hospice admissions. However, patients aged 65-84 years made up an astonishing 44 percent. (2013, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization) Is it the right time for senior living? Learn about your options and get  personalized results in about four minutes with our free assessment. >>
  6. In 2012, the average hospice provider cared for an average of 148.5 patients. (2013, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
  7. At WesleyLife, we will not turn away anyone because they cannot pay for services. Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances offer hospice coverage, so the national average that a patient self pays is only 0.6 percent. Medicare covers over 84 percent of patients who receive hospice care. (2013, Forbes)
  8. Across America, 54.7 percent of full-time employees in hospices are registered nurses. Only 35.7 percent of employees are aides. (2013, National Center for Health Statistics)
  9. The top five diagnoses (cancer, debility unspecified, dementia, heart disease and lung disease) account for over 83 percent of patients. Cancer is the largest category for hospice diagnoses, accounting for 36.9 percent of patients. (2013, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
  10. Over 65 percent of patients’ pain was brought to a comfortable level within 48 hours of admission and assessment. (2013, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
  11. Over 70 percent of families would rate their hospice care for their loved one as excellent. (2012, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
  12. While hospice care is being used more often, many families wished they had placed their loved one in the care of a provider sooner so their loved one could be more comfortable during their last days. Over 60 percent of patients only received care for 29 days. (2013, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
  13. Huffington Post found that over 750 hospices in the United States have not had a full inspection in the past six years. That means that those hospices are not certified. All of our WesleyLife inpatient hospices and outpatient services are certified. (2014, Huffington Post)
  14. Eighty-eight percent of hospice care patients have an advance directive on record to lay out their final wishes, which is much larger than the 65 percent of nursing home residents and 28 percent of home health care patients that have prepared advanced directives. (2011, Jones)
  15. The first hospice in the United States opened in 1974 on the outskirts on New Haven, Connecticut. In 2012, more than 5,500 programs were in operation across America (including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands). (2013, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
  16. Over 55 percent of hospices are for-profit organizations, with only 29.7 percent of hospice care services classified as nonprofit. WesleyLife has been a nonprofit organization since we began serving the community 65 years ago. (2013, National Center for Health Statistics)
  17. While 96.5 percent of patients received routine home care, only 0.3 percent received respite care. At WesleyLife we offer all of our patients and families respite care from one of our trained volunteers. (2013, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
  18. Most (92.5 percent) hospice care facilities offer bereavement services to families. (2013, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
  19. Medicare requires volunteers to make up five percent of hours that a patient receives in hospices. (2013, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
  20. In 2012, over 400,000 volunteers gave more than 19 million hours of their time to serve hospices. (2013, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)

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