Comparison between Rural and Urban Appalachian Children in Hospice Care.

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From: Southern Medical Journal(Vol. 115, Issue 3)
Publisher: Southern Medical Association
Document Type: Article
Length: 407 words

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Abstract :

Byline: Mary Lou Clark Fornehed, From the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, the College of Nursing, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the School of Nursing, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and the Department of Health Services Policy and Management, Center for Effectiveness Research in Orthopedics, University of South Carolina, Columbia.; Radion Svynarenko; Jessica Keim-Malpass; Melanie J. Cozad; Kerri A. Qualls; Whitney L. Stone; Lisa C. Lindley Abstract OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to compare rural and urban pediatric hospice patients in Appalachia. METHODS: Using a retrospective, nonexperimental design, we sought to compare characteristics of Appalachian rural and urban children younger than 21 years enrolled in the Medicaid hospice benefit. Descriptive statistics were calculated on the demographic, hospice, and clinical characteristics of children from Appalachia. Comparisons were calculated using Pearson Îç2 for proportions and the Student t test for means. RESULTS: Less than half of the 1788 Appalachian children admitted to hospice care resided in rural areas (40%). Compared with children in urban areas of Appalachia, rural children were significantly younger (8 years vs 9.5 years) and more often had a complex chronic condition (56.0% vs 35.1%) and comorbidities (38.5% vs 17.0%) with technology dependence (32.6% vs 17.0%). Children in rural Appalachian were commonly from communities in the southern region of Appalachia (27.9% vs CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that children admitted to hospice care in rural versus urban Appalachia have distinct characteristics. Rural children are admitted to hospice care with significant medical complexities and reside in areas of poverty. Hospice care for rural children suggests a continuity of care with longer hospice stays and fewer transitions to the emergency department; however, the potential for care fragmentation is present, with frequent visits to primary care and nonhospice providers for symptom management. Understanding the unique characteristics of children in Appalachia may be essential for advancing knowledge and care for these children at the end of life. Future research examining geographic variation in hospice care in Appalachia is warranted.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A694431596