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Annu Rev Public Health. 2014;35:459-75. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032013-182406.

The growth of palliative care in the United States.

Author information

1
General Internal Medicine and Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland 21287-0941; email: mhughes2@jhmi.edu.

Abstract

Palliative care has been one of the most rapidly growing fields of health care in the United States in the past decade. The benefits of palliative care have now been shown in multiple clinical trials, with increased patient and provider satisfaction, equal or better symptom control, more discernment of and honoring choices about place of death, fewer and less intensive hospital admissions in the last month of life, less anxiety and depression, less caregiver distress, and cost savings. The cost savings come from cost avoidance, or movement of a patient from a high cost setting to a lower cost setting. Barriers to expanded use include physician resistance, unrealistic expectations of patients and families, and lack of workforce. The future of palliative care includes more penetration into other fields such as nephrology, neurology, and surgery; further discernment of the most effective and cost-effective models; and establishment of more outpatient services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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