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Cost Savings Associated With Palliative Care Among Older Adults With Advanced Cancer.

Sheridan, Paige E; LeBrett, Wendi G; Triplett, Daniel P; Roeland, Eric J; Bruggeman, Andrew R; Yeung, Heidi N; Murphy, James D.
Am J Hosp Palliat Care ; : 1049909120986800, 2021 Jan 11.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33423523


There is inconsistent evidence that palliative care intervention decreases total healthcare expenditure at end-of-life for oncology patients. This inconsistent evidence may result from small sample sizes at single institution studies and disparate characterization of costs across studies. Comprehensive studies in population-based datasets are needed to fully understand the impact of palliative care on total healthcare costs. This study analyzed the impact of palliative care on total healthcare costs in a nationally representative sample of advanced cancer patients.


We conducted a matched cohort study among Medicare patients with metastatic lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. We matched patients who received a palliative care consultation to similar patients who did not receive a palliative care consultation on factors related to both the receipt of palliative care and end of life costs. We compared direct costs between matched patients to determine the per-patient economic impact of a palliative care consultation.


Patients who received a palliative care consultation experienced an average per patient cost of $5,834 compared to $7,784 for usual care patients (25% decrease; p < 0.0001). Palliative care consultation within 7 days of death decreased healthcare costs by $451, while palliative care consultation more than 4 weeks from death decreased costs by $4,643.


This study demonstrates that palliative care has the capacity to substantially reduce healthcare expenditure among advanced cancer patients. Earlier palliative care consultation results in greater cost reductions than consultation in the last week of life.