Send to

Choose Destination
J Palliat Med. 2018 Dec;21(12):1761-1767. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2018.0093. Epub 2018 Jun 29.

Patterns of Palliative Care Pharmacist Interventions and Outcomes as Part of Inpatient Palliative Care Consult Service.

Author information

1 Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California.
2 Department of Pharmacy, University of California, San Diego Health, La Jolla, California.
3 Howell Palliative Care Teams, University of California, San Diego Health, La Jolla, California.



Palliative care uses a team approach, including physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and pharmacists. The pharmacist's role within palliative care teams is increasing and initial favorable outcomes have been reported.


This retrospective study evaluated adult hospitalized patients seen by a part-time palliative care specialist pharmacist as part of the palliative care consultation team at an academic health system during a 15-month period between September 1, 2015, and March 30, 2017. Our study's objective is to identify patterns of an inpatient palliative care pharmacist's interventions and outcomes and evaluate the impact of pharmacist involvement on patient hospital length of stay (LOS), length from admission to palliative care consult (LTC), and time from consult to discharge or death (CTD).


The palliative care pharmacist was on service 35% of the time and saw 26.4% of the patient seen by the palliative care team (n = 341 out of 1293). Each patient received an average of 3.5 interventions with an average of 4.1 documented outcomes. The most common interventions were optimizing palliative medication regimen and providing education; most common outcomes were implementation of a change in palliative medication regimen and education of healthcare professionals. Overall, patients seen by the palliative care pharmacist were younger (p < 0.05), more likely to be female (p < 0.05), and more likely to have a primary palliative consultation reason listed as "pain" (p < 0.005). LOS, LTC, and CTD were significantly longer for patients seen by palliative care pharmacist.


Pharmacist interventions and outcomes were predominantly related to optimizing symptoms by changes in medication regimen and education of healthcare professionals. A subanalysis of patients with known date of first pharmacist visit found significantly improved LOS, LTC, and CTD for patients with early access to palliative pharmacy (in addition to the other members of the palliative team) compared to those without early access.


consult team; palliative care; pharmacist; pharmacist interventions; pharmacist outcomes; pharmacist value


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center