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Clin Geriatr Med. 2005 Feb;21(1):147-63, ix.

The price of palliative care: toward a complete accounting of costs and benefits.

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  • 1Buehler Center on Aging, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 750 North Lake Shore Drive, Suite 601, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


In this article, currently accepted standards for cost-benefit analysis of health care interventions are outlined, and a framework to evaluate palliative care within these standards is provided. Recent publications on the economic implications of palliative care are reviewed, which are only the "tip of the iceberg" of the potential costs and benefits. Using this framework, the authors offer guidelines for performing comprehensive cost-benefit analyses of palliative care and conclude that many of the issues beneath the surface may be substantial and deserving of closer scrutiny. Methods for gathering relevant cost-benefit information are detailed, along with potential obstacles to implementation. This approach is applicable to palliative care in general, including palliative care for elders.

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