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 study were published online February 3rd in Annals of Emergency Medicine (“The Association of Community-Based Palliative Care with Reduced Emergency Department Visits in the Last Year of Life Varies by Patient Factors”).
Researchers studied nearly 12,000 records for patients who died of cancer, heart failure, kidney failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and/or liver failures in Western Australia from 2009 to 2010. Dying patients visited the emergency department on average twice a year during their last year of life. The average number of emergency department visits was reduced when patients received palliative care.
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