Usefulness of Utility in Making Decisions about Palliative Care

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Utility can be used to rank treatments based on their effect and to calculate cost-utility ratios. Change in utility is difficult to show for palliative care interventions because the effects of the interventions are small, the effects of the disease are large, and current global instruments do not capture the benefit. This chapter suggests that the most practical use is to quantify the benefits and toxicities of various interventions and to illustrate the future health states that the patient is likely to experience. This may be useful in patient decision making but requires an informed, knowledge-seeking patient, who is willing to make choices informed by data. At present, utility and cost-utility are not useful in resource allocation, except as an implicit way to illustrate benefit for comparative cost and clinical decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIssues in Palliative Care Research
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199999842
ISBN (Print)0195130650, 9780195130652
StatePublished - Nov 17 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical decision
  • Cost-utility ratios
  • Palliative care intervention
  • Resource allocation
  • Utility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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