Cost-effectiveness of a transitional home-based palliative care program for patients with end-stage heart failure

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Background:Studies have shown positive clinical outcomes of specialist palliative care for end-stage heart failure patients, but cost-effectiveness evaluation is lacking.Aim:To examine the cost-effectiveness of a transitional home-based palliative care program for patients with end-stage heart failure patients as compared to the customary palliative care service.Design:A cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted alongside a randomized controlled trial (Trial number: NCT02086305). The costs included pre-program training, intervention, and hospital use. Quality of life was measured using SF-6D.Setting/participants:The study took place in three hospitals in Hong Kong. The inclusion criteria were meeting clinical indicators for end-stage heart failure patients including clinician-judged last year of life, discharged to home within the service area, and palliative care referral accepted. A total of 84 subjects (study = 43, control = 41) were recruited.Results:When the study group was compared to the control group, the net incremental quality-adjusted life years gain was 0.0012 (28 days)/0.0077 (84 days) and the net incremental costs per case was −HK$7935 (28 days)/−HK$26,084 (84 days). The probability of being cost-effective was 85% (28 days)/100% (84 days) based on the cost-effectiveness thresholds recommended both by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (£20,000/quality-adjusted life years) and World Health Organization (Hong Kong gross domestic product/capita in 2015, HK$328117).Conclusion:Results suggest that a transitional home-based palliative care program is more cost-effective than customary palliative care service. Limitations of the study include small sample size, study confined to one city, clinic consultation costs, and societal costs including patient costs and unpaid care-giving costs were not included.

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