Cost and Non-Clinical Outcomes of Palliative Care

Thomas J. Smith, J. Brian Cassel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Although palliative care is rarely profitable by itself, palliative care in hospitals is associated with significant reductions in per diem costs and total costs, and can generate substantial savings to the health system by "cost avoidance." Palliative care alongside usual care in recent randomized outpatient trials has maintained or improved the quality of care while generating substantial cost savings. The data are mixed about the impact of palliative care consultation on inpatient length of stay and are related to local patterns of care, consultation, and assumption of control of the course of care. In collecting and presenting the data to administrators and others, we have found that the simplest approach is the most effective-for example, presenting a few clinical outcomes alongside cost-saving data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-44
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Palliative care unit
  • cost avoidance
  • cost savings
  • nonclinical outcomes
  • palliative care consult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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