Earlier palliative care at home linked to fewer hospital admissions

March 2, 2018, Curtin University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Offering palliative care earlier to dying patients at home is linked to fewer hospital admissions at the end of their lives, raising questions about the time restrictions placed on accessing community-based palliative care in some parts of the world, new research led by Curtin University has found.

The paper, published in the March edition of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, found offering community-based palliative care to a person before the last six months of their life was linked with a lower rate of unplanned hospitalisations in that last six months, as well as lower .

The research examined the care of 16,439 people who died from cancer in Western Australia between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2011, and accessed community-based .

Lead author Mr Cameron Wright, from the School of Public Health at Curtin University, said the findings were important given the ageing population and the wish among many to die at home.

"This study suggests a link between accessing community-based palliative care earlier and fewer unplanned hospitalisation and emergency department presentations, as well as lower associated healthcare costs in the final 12 months of a person's life," Mr Wright said.

"In some parts of the world, including the United States of America, access to community-based palliative care is restricted to a certain expected time before death but this study suggests there may be a benefit for both the patient and the health system for this support to be provided at home earlier.

"As populations age, strategic planning of palliative care will be important to ensure the quality and sustainability of end-of-life care."

Mr Wright said the research showed the difference in associated healthcare costs was significant, with $12,976 (2012) for those who had accessed community-based palliative care before the last six months of life, compared to $13,959 (2012) compared to those who had accessed it within the six months before death.

In this study, community-based palliative care is provided by a single non-government provider free of charge at the point of care.

Explore further: Early access to palliative care associated with better quality of life

More information: Cameron M. Wright et al. Earlier Initiation of Community-Based Palliative Care Is Associated With Fewer Unplanned Hospitalizations and Emergency Department Presentations in the Final Months of Life: A Population-Based Study Among Cancer Decedents, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2017.11.021

Related Stories

Early access to palliative care associated with better quality of life

February 1, 2018
Patients with advanced cancer have a significantly better quality of life in the weeks before they die if they receive early access to palliative care, according to research published today.

Dying patients who received palliative care visited the ER less

February 21, 2017
Community-based palliative care—care delivered at home, not the hospital—was associated with a 50 percent reduction in emergency department visits for patients in their last year of life. The results of an Australian ...

Early palliative care avoids emergency stress

September 3, 2013
Cancer patients who receive early access to community-based palliative care are less likely to go to the emergency department coming towards the end of their life, according to Curtin University research.

Most nursing home residents eligible for palliative care but lack access

November 21, 2017
Nearly 70 percent of nursing home residents are eligible for palliative care, but do not receive any corresponding support to provide relief from their symptoms and improve their quality of life, according to a study by researchers ...

Palliative care may mean fewer difficult transitions for older adults nearing end of life

November 18, 2016
Palliative care is treatment—such as medication, nutritional support, or massage—that helps you feel better when you have a serious illness. Palliative care can help ease pain, insomnia, shortness of breath, nausea, and ...

Study shows significant cost savings with a home-based palliative care program

October 18, 2016
A home-based palliative care (HBPC) program for individuals with advanced illnesses was associated with a $12,000 reduction in the mean total cost of care per person, fewer hospital admissions and emergency room visits, and ...

Recommended for you

A co-worker's rudeness can affect your sleep—and your partner's, study finds

December 14, 2018
Rudeness. Sarcastic comments. Demeaning language. Interrupting or talking over someone in a meeting. Workplace incivilities such as these are becoming increasingly common, and a new study from Portland State University and ...

A holiday gift to primary care doctors: Proof of their time crunch

December 14, 2018
The average primary care doctor needs to work six more hours a day than they already do, in order to make sure their patients get all the preventive and early-detection care they want and deserve, a new study finds.

Teens get more sleep with later school start time, researchers find

December 12, 2018
When Seattle Public Schools announced that it would reorganize school start times across the district for the fall of 2016, the massive undertaking took more than a year to deploy. Elementary schools started earlier, while ...

Large restaurant portions a global problem, study finds

December 12, 2018
A new multi-country study finds that large, high-calorie portion sizes in fast food and full service restaurants is not a problem unique to the United States. An international team of researchers found that 94 percent of ...

Receiving genetic information can change risk

December 11, 2018
Millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis and received information that not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk, ...

Yes please to yoghurt and cheese: The new improved Mediterranean diet

December 11, 2018
Thousands of Australians can take heart as new research from the University of South Australia shows a dairy-enhanced Mediterranean diet will significantly increase health outcomes for those at risk of cardiovascular disease ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.