Introduction: We studied the impact of an 11-bed inpatient palliative care unit (PCU) on site of death and observed mortality in the health system, oncology, and palliative care units. Observers were concerned that an active PCU would attract dying patients and worsen comparative mortality rates for Medicare and U.S. News & World Report comparisons. Methods: We reviewed 10 years of experience with all patients who died in the hospital before and after we opened our PCU in 2000. Results: The PCU concentrated dying patients on the PCU but total deaths did not change over 10 years and remained approximately 3% of admissions. Within 2 years, one quarter of all health system decedents died on the PCU. The proportion who died on the oncology floor and general units declined, but the number of intensive care unit deaths did not change. Conclusions: An inpatient PCU did not increase the hospital-wide death rate. The PCU did change the site of death to a more appropriate venue for one quarter of patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine