Integration of Palliative Care Advanced Practice Nurses Into Intensive Care Unit Teams

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Referrals to palliative care for patients at the end of life in the intensive care unit (ICU) often happen late in the ICU stay, if at all. The integration of a palliative medicine advanced practice nurse (APN) is one potential strategy for proactively identifying patients who could benefit from this service.


To evaluate the association between the integration of palliative medicine APNs into the routine operations of ICUs and hospital costs at 2 different institutions, Montefiore Medical Center (MMC) and Rush University Medical Center.


The association between collaborative palliative care consultation service programs and hospital costs per patient was evaluated for the 2 institutions. Hospital costs were compared for patients with and without a referral to palliative care using Mann-Whitney U tests.


Hospital nonroom and board costs at the Weiler campus of MMC were significantly lower for patients with palliative care compared with those who did not receive palliative care (Median = US$6643 vs US$12 399, P < .001). Cost differences for ICU patients with and without palliative care at Rush University Medical Center were not significantly different.


Our evaluation suggests that the integration of APNs into a palliative care team for case finding may be a promising strategy, but more work is needed to determine whether reductions in cost are significant.

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