BACKGROUND: Early palliative care consultation ("PCC") to discuss goals-of-care benefits seriously ill patients. Risk factor profiles associated with the timing of conversations in hospitals, where late conversations most likely occur, are needed.
OBJECTIVE: To identify risk factor patient profiles associated with PCC timing before death.
METHODS: Secondary analysis of an observational study was conducted at an urban, academic medical center. Patients aged 18 years and older admitted to the medical center, who had PCC, and died July 1, 2014 to October 31, 2016, were included. Patients admitted for childbirth or rehabilitationand patients whose date of death was unknown were excluded. Classification and Regression Tree modeling was employed using demographic and clinical variables.
RESULTS: Of 1141 patients, 54% had PCC "close to death" (0-14 days before death); 26% had PCC 15 to 60 days before death; 21% had PCC >60 days before death (median 13 days before death). Variables associated with receiving PCC close to death included being Hispanic or "Other" race/ethnicity intensive care patients with extreme illness severity (85%), with age <46 or >75 increasing this probability (98%). Intensive care patients with extreme illness severity were also likely to receive PCC close to death (64%) as were 50% of intensive care patients with less than extreme illness severity.
CONCLUSIONS: A majority of patients received PCC close to death. A complex set of variable interactions were associated with PCC timing. A systematic process for engaging patients with PCC earlier in the care continuum, and in intensive care regardless of illness severity, is needed.
Background: African Americans receive more aggressive end-of-life care than Whites. Little is known about how palliative care consultation to discuss goals-of-care (“PCC”) is associated with acute care utilization and costs by race.
Objective: To compare future acute care costs and utilization between propensity-matched cohorts of African Americans with and without PCC, and Whites with and without PCC.
Design: Secondary analysis of a retrospective cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: Thirty-five thousand one hundred and fifty-four African Americans and Whites age 18+ admitted for conditions other than childbirth or rehabilitation, who were not hospitalized at the end of the study, and did not die during index hospitalization (hospitalization during which the first PCC occurred).
Measurements: Accumulated mean acute care costs and utilization (30-day readmissions, future hospital days, future intensive care unit [ICU] admission, future number of ICU days) after discharge from index hospitalization.
Results: No significant difference between African Americans with or without PCC in mean future acute care costs ($11,651 vs. $15,050, p = 0.09), 30-day readmissions (p = 0.58), future hospital days (p = 0.34), future ICU admission (p = 0.25), or future ICU days (p = 0.30). There were significant differences between Whites with PCC and those without PCC in mean future acute care costs ($8,095 vs. $16,799, p < 0.001), 30-day readmissions (10.2% vs. 16.7%, p < 0.0001), and future days hospitalized (3.7 vs. 6.3 days, p < 0.0001).
onclusions: PCC decreases future acute care costs and utilization in Whites and, directionally but not significantly, in African Americans. Research is needed to explain why utilization and cost disparities persist among African Americans despite PCC.
BACKGROUND: Hospitals are under increasing pressure to manage costs across multiple episodes of care. Most studies of the financial impact of palliative care have focused on costs during a single hospitalization.
OBJECTIVE: To compare future acute health-care costs and utilization between patients who received inpatient palliative care consultation for goals of care (Palliative Care Service [PCS]) and a propensity-matched cohort of patients who did not receive palliative care consultation (non-PCS) in a single academic medical center.
METHODS: Data were extracted from the hospital's electronic records for admissions and discharges between July 2014 and October 2016. A stratified propensity score matching was used to account for nonrandom assignment and potential inherent differences between PCS and non-PCS groups using variables of theoretical interest: age, gender, race, diagnosis, risk of mortality, and prior acute care costs.
RESULTS: The analytical sample for this study included 41 363 patients (PCS = 1853; non-PCS = 39 510). Future acute care costs were significantly higher in the non-PCS group after propensity score matching (highest tier = US$15 654 vs US$8831; second highest tier = US$12 200 vs US$5496; P = .0001). The non-PCS group also had significantly higher future acute care utilization across all propensity tiers and outcomes including 30-day readmission ( P = .0001), number of future hospital days ( P = .0001), and number of future intensive care unit days ( P = .0001).
CONCLUSION: Palliative care consultations for goals of care may decrease future health-care utilization with cost savings that persist into future hospitalizations.