Care at the end of life is extremely personal and can be anxiety-inducing. As Health Affairs editor-in-chief Alan Weil notes in his editor's letter: "At a point in their lives when their needs are often as much social and spiritual as they are medical, people are confronted with a fragmented, rescue-driven health care system that produces miraculous results but also disastrous failures."

Papers in this month's issue, including several from AcademyHealth members, cover a variety of issues from an examination of medical spending levels for the last year of life, use of advance care directives, and disparities in hospice quality. See the full issue here.