Use of the Medicare Posthospitalization Skilled Nursing Benefit in the Last 6 Months of Life 10/1/12

In the last 6 months of life, many older adults will experience a hospitalization, followed by a transfer to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) for additional care. We sought to examine patterns of Medicare posthospitalization SNF use in the last 6 months of life.

Methods  We used data from the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal survey of older adults, linked to Medicare claims (January 1994 through December 2007). We determined the number of individuals 65 years or older at death who had used the SNF benefit in the last 6 months of life. We report demographic, social, and clinical correlates of SNF use. We examined the relationship between place of death and hospice use for those residing in nursing homes and the community before the last 6 months of life. Read more