Palliative Care Consult Can Cut Hospital Costs in Seriously Ill

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PCC linked to reduction in hospital costs for hospitalized adults with serious illness.
PCC linked to reduction in hospital costs for hospitalized adults with serious illness.

(HealthDay News) -- For hospitalized adults with serious illness, receiving a palliative care consultation (PCC) is associated with a reduction in hospital costs, according to a review published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Peter May, PhD, from Trinity College Dublin, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to examine the correlation of a PCC with direct hospital costs among adults with serious illness (cancer; heart, liver, or kidney failure; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; AIDS/HIV; or selected neurodegenerative conditions). Eight eligible studies were identified; six provided sufficient information for inclusion.

The studies included 133,118 patients, of whom 93.2% were discharged alive; 3.6% received a PCC. The researchers found that among the studies, the mean Elixhauser index scores for comorbidity varied from 2.2 to 3.5. A statistically significant reduction in costs was seen when patients were pooled, irrespective of diagnosis
(−$3237). In the stratified analyses, a reduction in costs for the cancer and non-cancer subsamples was seen
(−$4251 and −$2105, respectively). Those with 4 or more comorbidities versus those with 2 or fewer had a greater reduction in cost.

"Increasing palliative care capacity to meet national guidelines may reduce costs for hospitalized adults with serious and complex illnesses," the authors write.

Reference

May P, Normand C, Cassel B, et al. Economics of Palliative Care for Hospitalized Adults With Serious Illness: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 30, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.0750

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