Multidisciplinary Palliative-Care Consults Help Reduce Hospital Readmissions


Research on seriously ill, hospitalized, Medicare-age patients finds that those who received inpatient consultations from a multidisciplinary, palliative-care team (including a physician, nurse, and social worker) had lower 30-day hospital readmission rates.1 Ten percent of discharged patients who received the palliative-care consult were readmitted within 30 days at an urban HMO medical center in Los Angeles County during the same period, even though they were sicker than the overall discharged population.

Receipt of hospice care or home-based palliative-care services following discharge was also associated with significantly lower rates of readmissions, suggesting opportunities for systemic cost savings from earlier access to longitudinal, or ongoing, palliative-care services, says Susan Enguidanos, MPH, PhD, assistant professor of gerontology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Patients discharged from the hospital without any follow-up care in the home had higher odds of readmission.

“Hospitals and medical centers should seriously consider an inpatient palliative care consultation team for many reasons, mostly arising from findings from other studies that have demonstrated improved quality of life, pain and symptom management, satisfaction with medical care, and other promising outcomes,” Dr. Enguidanos says. “Our study suggests that longitudinal palliative care is also associated with the lower readmission rate.”


  1. Enguidanos S, Vesper E, Lorenz K. 30-day readmissions among seriously ill older adults. J Palliat Med. 2012;15(12):1356-1361.
  2. The Advisory Board Company. Mastering the cardiovascular care continuum: strategies for bridging divides among providers and across time. The Advisory Board Company website. Available at: http://www.advisory.com/Research/Cardiovascular-Roundtable/Studies/2012/Mastering-the-Cardiovascular-Care-Continuum. Accessed Jan. 8, 2013.
  3. Misky G, Carlson T, Klem P, et al. Development and implementation of a clinical care pathway for acute VTE reduces hospital utilization and cost at an urban tertiary care center [abstract]. J Hosp Med. 2012;7 Suppl 2:S66-S67.
  4. Versel N. Health IT holds key to better care integration. Information Week website. Available at: http://www.informationweek.com/healthcare/interoperability/health-it-holds-key-to-better-care-integ/240012443. Accessed Jan. 8, 2013.
  5. Office of Inspector General. Early Assessment Finds That CMS Faces Obstacles in Overseeing the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. Office of Inspector General website. Available at: https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-05-11-00250.asp. Accessed Jan. 8, 2013.

Next Article:

   Comments ()