Over the last 20 years, multiple interventions to better integrate palliative care into the intensive care unit (ICU) have been evaluated. But looking for evidence showing that palliative care can help patients avoid the ICU altogether has become more of a focus as of late.
New research reveals that early palliative care can help cancer patients avoid the ICU and hospital admissions, and help an institution reduce deaths in the hospital. This analysis—performed at a university hospital— assessed the effect of a comprehensive early palliative care program on ICU use and other outcomes among patients with advanced cancer. This study supports early initiation of palliative care for advanced cancer patients before hospitalizations and intensive care.
There is still more to be explored however. Results showed that while early palliative care significantly reduced ICU use for seriously ill patients, it did not change patients’ experiences within the ICU, such as number of procedures, code status, length of stay, or disposition. The findings further support that palliative care exerts its benefit before, rather than during, the ICU setting. Click here to read more.