Palliative care linked to a 10% drop in ICU use for terminal patients

Offering palliative care services to patients with terminal conditions can help reduce their use of the intensive care unit, a study published in JAMA Network Open shows.

Researchers studied 51 hospitals in New York that either did or did not implement a palliative care program between 2008 and 2014. They examined data for 73,370 patients who died during their hospitalizations.

Of the total number of patients included in the study, 51.3 percent received care in hospitals that implemented palliative care services, and 48.7 percent received care in a hospital that did not.

Researchers found that patients who received the palliative care services were less likely to be admitted to the ICU than patients admitted to the same hospitals before the palliative care program was implemented.

The implementation of palliative care programs was associated with a 10 percent reduction in ICU use during hospitalizations where the patients died, compared to hospitals that did not implement palliative care services.

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