J Am Geriatr Soc 2018 05 6;66(5):937-944. Epub 2018 Mar 6.
Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Objectives: To describe medications that older hospice beneficiaries receive through Medicare Part D and assess patterns in Part D use for individuals admitted to hospice for cancer and noncancer causes.
Design: Descriptive cohort analysis using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked database.
Setting: U.S. hospice programs PARTICIPANTS: Part D-enrolled Medicare beneficiaries aged 66 and older who were admitted to hospice and died while under hospice care between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2013 (N = 88,957).
Measurements: We determined the 25 most commonly dispensed medications and the prevalence of at least 1 dispensing through Part D after hospice admission. The prevalence and temporal trends in receipt of opioid analgesics and several preventative medication classes are described.
Results: More than half of individuals admitted to hospice for cancer (53.5%) and noncancer causes (52.9%) received at least 1 medication through Part D after hospice admission. The prevalence of receiving at least 1 Part D medication after admission was greatest in individuals admitted for debility or failure to thrive (63.5%) and dementia (61.5%) and lowest in those admitted for ischemic stroke (35.4%) and renal disease (36.0%). Beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, proton pump inhibitors, and statins were among the most common preventative drug classes received overall, although prevalence differed according to admission diagnosis. Nearly 1 in 6 individuals received opioids through Part D after admission, with prevalence steadily decreasing over the study period.
Conclusion: Receipt of medications through Medicare Part D after hospice admission is common, particularly for preventative medications, and varies according to admission diagnosis. Further research aimed at better understanding individual-, provider-, and healthcare system-level contributors to nonpalliative medication use in the hospice population is warranted.