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Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2015 May;32(3):275-9. doi: 10.1177/1049909113514476. Epub 2013 Dec 2.

Palliative care consultation versus palliative care unit: which is associated with shorter terminal hospitalization length of stay among patients with cancer?

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Palliative Medicine Unit, Kasr Al-Ainy Center of Clinical Oncology & Nuclear Medicine (NEMROCK), Kasr Al-Ainy School of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
Palliative Care Department, King Fahad Specialist Hospital-Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.


Hospital length of stay (LoS) may be used to assess end-of-life care aggressiveness and health care delivery efficiency. We describe the terminal hospitalization LoS of patients with cancer managed by a hospital-based palliative care (PC) program comprising a palliative care consultation (PCC) service and an inpatient palliative care unit (PCU). A total of 328 in-hospital cancer deaths were divided into 2 groups. The PCU group included patients admitted by the PC team directly to the PCU. The PCC group included patients admitted by other specialties and referred to the PCC team. The LoS of the PCU group was significantly shorter than that of the PCC group (9.9 [±9.4] vs 17.8 [±19.7] days, respectively; P < .001). Direct terminal hospitalization to PCU is not associated with longer LoS among cancer deaths managed by a hospital-based PC service.


advanced cancer; end-of-life care; length of stay; palliative care consultation; palliative care unit; tertiary care hospital

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