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J Palliat Med. 2005 Dec;8(6):1127-34.

The growth of palliative care programs in United States hospitals.

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  • 1Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute of the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Center to Advance Palliative Care, Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York, New York 10029, USA. sean.morrison@mssm.edu



Palliative care programs are becoming increasingly common in U.S. hospitals.


To quantify the growth of hospital based palliative care programs from 2000-2003 and identify hospital characteristics associated with the development of a palliative care program.


Data were obtained from the 2001-2004 American Hospital Association Annual Surveys which covered calendar years 2000-2003. We identified all programs that self-reported the presence of a hospital-owned palliative care program and acute medical and surgical beds. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify characteristics significantly associated with the presence of a palliative care program in the 2003 survey data.


Overall, the number of programs increased linearly from 632 (15% of hospitals) in 2000 to 1027 (25% of hospitals) in 2003. Significant predictors associated with an increased likelihood of having a palliative care program included greater numbers of hospital beds and critical care beds, geographic region, and being an academic medical center. Compared to notfor- profit hospitals, VA hospitals were significantly more likely to have a palliative care program and city, county or state and for-profit hospitals were significantly less likely to have a program. Hospitals operated by the Catholic Church, and hospitals that owned their own hospice program were significantly more likely to have a palliative care program than non- Catholic Church-operated hospitals and hospitals without hospice programs respectively.


Our data suggest that although growth in palliative care programs has occurred throughout the nation's hospitals, larger hospitals, academic medical centers, not-for-profit hospitals, and VA hospitals are significantly more likely to develop a program compared to other hospitals.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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