Community-Based Palliative Care Linked to Reduction in ER Visits

Community-based palliative care was associated with a 50-percent reduction in emergency department visits for patients facing seriously illnesses according to a recent Australian study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Researchers studied nearly 12,000 records for patients facing cancer, heart failure, kidney failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and/or liver failures in Western Australia from 2009 to 2010. These patients visited the emergency department on average twice a year as their symptoms progressed. The average number of emergency department visits was reduced when patients received palliative care.

“It is encouraging that palliative care was associated with reduced emergency department visits for five different diseases, so isn’t limited to just cancer or heart failure, for example,” said study lead Lorna Rosenwax, PhD. of Curtin University in Perth, Australia. The greatest reduction in emergency department visits for patients receiving palliative care was seen in patients who were older, had a partner, lived in major cities, lived in more affluent areas and had no prior history of emergency department visits. Click here for more.

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