Survivors of patients in a randomized controlled trial of a hospital-based hospice were followed for 18 months after the patient's death. There were no significant differences in the anxiety or depression between hospice survivors (N = 56) and controls (N = 40). Neither were there significant differences in bed days, physician visits or scores on a 6-item health scale, even when the survivor's initial health status was held constant. No clear pattern of differences emerged in social participation, contacts with friends or relatives, smoking or drinking behaviors. We conclude that hospice care did not provide any protective effect for the bereavement period.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the California Chapter of the American Cancer Society, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, and by the Wadsworth Veterans Administration Medical Center. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Robert Kane, MD, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, 1260 Mayo Memorial Bldg, 420 Delaware St. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455, U.S.A.