Live Discharge of Hospice Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias: A Systematic Review

Stephanie P. Wladkowski, Cara L. Wallace, Kathryn Coccia, Rebecca C. Hyde, Leslie Hinyard, Karla T. Washington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Hospice is intended to promote the comfort and quality of life of dying patients and their families. When patients are discharged from hospice prior to death (ie, experience a “live discharge”), care continuity is disrupted. This systematic review summarizes the growing body of evidence on live discharge among hospice patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias (ADRD), a clinical subpopulation that disproportionately experiences this often burdensome care transition. Methods: Researchers conducted a systematic review in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Reviewers searched AgeLine, APA PsycINFO (Ovid), CINAHL Plus with Full Text, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global, PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science (Core Collection). Reviewers extracted data and synthesized findings from 9 records, which reported findings from 10 individual studies. Results: The reviewed studies, which were generally of high quality, consistently identified diagnosis of ADRD as a risk factor for live discharge from hospice. The relationship between race and live hospice discharge was less clear and likely dependent upon the type of discharge under investigation and other (eg, systemic-level) factors. Research on patient and family experiences underscored the extent to which live hospice discharge can be distressing, confusing, and associated with numerous losses. Conclusion: Research specific to live discharge among ADRD patients and their families is limited. Synthesis across included studies points to the importance for future research to differentiate between types of live discharge—revocation vsversus decertification—as these are vastly different experiences in choice and circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-239
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias
  • care transitions
  • decertification
  • hospice
  • live discharge
  • medicare hospice benefit


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