Purpose Previous studies report that early palliative care is associated with clinical benefits, but there is imited evidence on economic impact. This article addresses the research question: Does timing of palliative care have an impact on its effect on cost? Patients and Methods Using a prospective, observational design, clinical and cost data were collected for adult patients with an advanced cancer diagnosis admitted to five US hospitals from 2007 to 2011. The sample for economic evaluation was 969 patients; 256 were seen by a palliative care consultation team, and 713 received usual care only. Subsamples were created according to time to consult after admission. Propensity score weights were calculated, matching the treatment and comparison arms specific to each subsample on observed confounders. Generalized linear models with a γ distribution and a log link were applied to estimate the mean treatment effect on cost within subsamples. Results Earlier consultation is associated with a larger effect on total direct cost. Intervention within 6 days is estimated to reduce costs by-$1,312 (95% CI, -$2,568 to -$56; P = .04) compared with no ntervention and intervention within 2 days by-$2,280 (95% CI, -$3,438 to -$1,122; P< .001); these reductions are equivalent to a 14% and a 24% reduction, respectively, in cost of hospital stay. Conclusion Earlier palliative care consultation during hospital admission is associated with lower cost of hospital stay for patients admitted with an advanced cancer diagnosis. These findings are consistent with a growing body of research on quality and survival suggesting that early palliative care should be more widely implemented.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research