COMMENTARY

Benefits of a Nurse-Led Palliative Care Clinic

Betty R. Ferrell, PhD, RN

Disclosures

November 05, 2013

Health Care Utilization by Patients Whose Care Is Managed by a Primary Palliative Care Clinic

Murphy A, Siebert K, Owens D, Doorenbos A
Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. 2013;15:372-379

Study Summary

This article focuses on the problem of the lack of primary care providers who are skilled in delivering palliative care. This deficit is suggested to be contributing to higher utilization of healthcare services for people at the end of life.

The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of combined primary and palliative care on healthcare utilization by patients with a life-limiting illness. The patients included in the study received care from a consistent provider through a primary palliative care clinic founded and directed by a nurse practitioner at a public hospital. Chart reviews were conducted on a convenience sample of 146 patients cared for between July 2010 and June 2011. Healthcare utilization variables after enrollment in the clinic were compared with utilization in the 12 months before the date of enrollment.

Statistical analyses estimated a 28.6% reduction in emergency visits after enrollment and a 20.2% reduction in hospital admissions. Murphy and colleagues concluded that these findings suggest that combined primary and palliative care can reduce utilization of healthcare services by individuals with life-limiting conditions.

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