The review looked at all the available international evidence on the costs and cost-effectiveness of palliative care interventions. Forty-six papers, published between 2002 and 2011, were included.
The authors of the paper concluded: “Palliative care is most frequently found to be less costly relative to comparator groups, and in most cases, the difference in cost is statistically significant.
However, the authors note that there may be complex interactions between costs of care and diagnosis, age group and other factors that require further investigation.
The authors also comment that very few of the studies looked at informal care or out-of-pocket costs, and that the role played by informal care needs to be studied in more detail.
‘Evidence on the cost and cost-effectiveness of palliative care: A literature review’ by S. Smith et al was published in volume 28, issue 2 of Palliative Medicine, and can be downloaded in full from the journal website.