So that there’s no doubt, let me say this bluntly: hospice care is for those who are expected to die. The purpose of hospice is to ease a person’s transition into the next life. So why would a hospice be admitting patients that aren’t terminally ill and turning them into drug addicts? Why else? For the money.
A month ago I read an article in Bloomburg that pointed out the tremendous profit that hospices are bringing in – $14 billion from an industry that used to be a string of charity organizations. As that article, written by Peter Waldman, pointed out: you don’t make $14 billion by having a lot of empty beds around.
End-of-life care is probably different from what you think it is. Dying is never fun, and unless you happen to be Ally McGraw in Love Story, it isn’t pretty either, but in a hospital or hospice setting, it isn’t painful. Despite what you might have heard about the withdrawal of feeding tubes, a hospice patient’s death is not going to be a painful one as along as comfort measures are in place.
Because of the importance of hospice care, Medicaid pays large per-day fees for hospice patients. The idea is that the extra money should be used to make certain that the end-of-life care is done properly.
Instead, hospices are using kickbacks and other forms of payment to convince doctors and nursing homes to refer patients into hospice care. Once there, drugs can be used to make patients docile. Remember, no one is ever supposed to leave hospice care, so doctors are more likely to prescribe higher levels of medications than they would to a patient who was expected to recover. These patients are relatively easy to provide care for with a limited staff.
If the patient is ever released from the hospice, they emerge terribly damaged and drug addicted. The man in the story died nearly five years after first being told he had 6 months to live.
Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms. A person rarely thinks of over-medication as abuse and neglect, but it is. Over-medication can lead to pressure ulcers (bedsores) and other complications which are extremely dangerous.
If you have a loved one that you think has been abused or neglected due to over-medication, you can contact my law offices for a free evaluation of your case. We have experience investigating issues of abuse and neglect of all kinds, and would be happy to speak to you.
Barry G. Doyle is a personal injury lawyer in Chicago and the founder of the Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, an Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect law firm dedicated to representing nursing home residents and their families.. If you or a loved one has been killed, injured or suffered neglect in a nursing home in Skokie, please order your free copy of A Family’s Guide to Nursing Home Lawsuits in Illinois. It’s full of helpful information that will help you protect your legal rights and is free to all Illinois residents.