The South Carolina Rural Health Research Center analyzed a sample of Medicare records and found that 44 percent of rural Medicare patients who died in the last six months of 2013 used hospice services. More than half of their urban counterparts used hospice.
|Graph by South Carolina Rural Health Research Center: click to enlarge|
The percentage of rural Medicare patients who used hospice care has increased more than 140 percent from 2000 to 2014. But access to hospice and palliative care in rural areas can be challenging because of possible factors like a lack of family caregivers living nearby, financial reimbursement issues, lack of qualified staff, and too-large travel distances, according to the Rural Health Information Hub.