Quality of Hospice Care at Home Versus in an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home

Kathleen T. Unroe, Timothy E. Stump, Shannon Effler, Wanzhu Tu, Christopher M. Callahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe differences in perceived quality of hospice care for individuals living at home or in a nursing home (NH) or assisted living facility (ALF) through analysis of after-death surveys of family members. Design: Retrospective cohort study using hospice medical record data and Family Evaluation of Hospice Care (FEHC) survey data. Setting: Large, national hospice provider. Participants: Individuals who died while receiving routine hospice care and family caregivers who completed after-death quality-of-care surveys. Measurements: Survey results for 7,510 individuals were analyzed using analysis of variance and chi-square tests. Logistic regression was used to assess relationship between location of care and overall service quality. Results: The overall survey response rate was 27%; 34.5% of families of individuals in ALFs in hospice, 27.4% of those at home, and 22.9% of those in NHs returned the survey (P <.001). Differences in return rate according to primary diagnosis were significant, although differences were not large. Most (84.3%) respondents reported that hospice referral had occurred at the right time, and 63.4% rated service quality as excellent. Hospice care in the NH was less likely to be perceived as excellent. Conclusion: There were significant differences in characteristics of individuals whose family members did and did not return surveys, which has implications for use of after-death surveys to evaluate hospice quality. Lower perceived quality of hospice care in NHs may be related to general dissatisfaction with receiving care in this setting. Survey results have the potential to set priorities for quality improvement, choice of provider, and potentially reimbursement. Underlying causes of differences of perceived quality in different settings of care should be examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-692
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • assisted living facility
  • hospice
  • nursing home
  • quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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