Spouses of patients receiving hospice for three or more days more frequently reported reduced depression symptoms than surviving spouses of patients who did not receive hospice, according to a study published online today by JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers analyzed data from more than 1,000 deceased patients and their surviving spouses using the Health and Retirement Study, a national sample of adults over age 50 linked to Medicare claims. Surviving spouses were then followed through bereavement up to two years after death. “We know hospice provides high quality care to patients, but now we’re also seeing a benefit for spouses,” said lead author Katherine Ornstein, assistant professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. “If we want to understand the impact of hospice care, we should consider the potential benefit not just to the patient, but to the caregiver, and perhaps, the entire family and social network.”