Background: Hospice is an effective end-of-life care approach for patients with incurable illnesses such as multiple myeloma; however, it has been historically underutilized. In addition to improving quality of life, hospice enrollment reduces healthcare spending in many incurable illnesses but this has been unstudied in the myeloma population to date.
Material and Methods: Retrospective analysis of myeloma cases diagnosed from 2007 to 2013 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked dataset. Included patients were: diagnosed at age 65 or older, received myeloma-directed therapy, had an overall survival >3 months, and were enrolled in Medicare the month preceding death. Costs included those paid by Medicare and patient copays during the 30 days preceding death.
Results: 2075 patients were included in the analysis. 56% were enrolled in hospice at end of life. Increasing age and female gender were associated with greater odds of hospice enrollment. Non-white race, Medicaid enrollment, and increasing comorbidities were associated with decreased odds. Hospice enrollment was associated with a $13,574 (p < .0001) decrease in costs; however, the maximal savings were observed by those enrolled >14 days prior to death.
Conclusion: While improving quality of life should be the ultimate reason for increasing hospice utilization among patients with myeloma, there seems to be considerable cost implications as well.