Terminally ill cancer patients at a Veterans Administration hospital were randomly assigned to receive hospice or conventional care. The hospice care was provided both in a special inpatient unit and at home. 137 hospice patients and 110 control patients and their familial care givers (FCGs) were followed until the patient's death. No significant differences were noted between the patient groups in measures of pain, symptoms, activities of daily living, or affect. Hospice patients expressed more satisfaction with the care they received; and hospice patients' FCGs, showed somewhat more satisfaction and less anxiety than did those of controls. Hospice care was not associated with a reduced use of hospital inpatient days or therapeutic procedures and was at least as expensive as conventional care.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the California chapter of the American Cancer Society and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and by direct assistance from the VA Medical Center, Wadsworth. We thank John Beck, Robert Brook, Bradford Gray, and David Solomon for their comments on an earlier version of this paper.