JANUARY 29, 3PM
HESS COMMONS, 722 W. 168th Street, 10th Floor
ABSTRACT: High intensity, costly treatments for patients are common at the end of life. The impact of such treatments may go beyond their influence on the individual patient and additionally impact family caregivers’ who are increasingly relied upon for provision of informal care and end-of-life decision-making. While evidence suggests that caregiving and bereavement impacts the health of caregivers, we know little about the impact of healthcare treatment intensity on family caregivers’ health, healthcare choices and spending. Current end-of-life healthcare cost estimates do not consider potential downstream costs associated with the healthcare expenditures of family caregivers. In this presentation I will discuss research examining the downstream effect of hospice use and treatment intensity at the end of life on the health, health care utilization and expenditures of caregivers using multiple national cohorts linked to administrative datasets. We find consistent associations between patient treatment intensity and caregiver health and health care utilization. By reframing the impact of EOL healthcare beyond an individual patient, research may influence EOL healthcare decision-making, improve health of family caregivers, and provide a comprehensive estimate of EOL care cost. As such, we will meet a critical need for individuals and families as well as for policy makers in our current era of Medicare reform.