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End-of-life care may do more harm than good

October 15, 2009 4:33:38 AM PDT
A surprising number of frail, elderly Americans may be getting end of life care that's doing more harm than good.Two new federally funded studies focus on the quality of life for elderly Americans in nursing homes.

One study shows that putting frail patients with kidney failure on dialysis didn't improve their quality of life and may even push them into further decline.

A look at these patients after starting dialysis showed a decline in their ability to perform simple tasks, such as feeding themselves, getting dressed or brushing their teeth.

Another report shows that many with advanced dementia will die within six months.

Instead of ramped up treatments, researchers suggest these patients should instead have hospice care.

Both studies appear in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.


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