A Quantitative Study of Triggered Palliative Care Consultation for Hospitalized Patients with Advanced Cancer the results of Cohorts 1 and 2 were presented at the 2014 Annual Assembly of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA).

Academic Article


  • Context Unplanned cancer-related hospital admissions often herald entry into the final phase of life. Hospitalized patients with advanced cancer have a high symptom burden and a short life expectancy, which may warrant palliative care intervention. Objectives To identify the impact of implementing triggered palliative care consultation (TPCC) as part of standard care for patients admitted to the solid-tumor oncology service with advanced cancer. Methods We conducted a prospective, sequential, three-cohort study to evaluate TPCC feasibility and impact using patient-reported outcomes, electronic medical records to identify resource utilization, and surveys of oncologists' perspectives on TPCC. Results Sixty-five patients were evaluated before TPCC implementation (Cohort 1). Seventy patients (Cohort 2) were evaluated after initiation of TPCC, and 68 patients (Cohort 3) were evaluated after modifications based on implementation barriers identified in Cohort 2. The percentage of patients correctly identifying their cancer as incurable increased from 65% in Cohort 1 to 94% in Cohorts 2 and 3. TPCC had minimal impact on hospice utilization, cost of care, survival, patient-reported symptoms, and patient satisfaction, likely because of the limited nature of the intervention. Implementation was challenging, with only 60% of patients in Cohort 2 and 62% in Cohort 3 receiving TPCC. Overall, the intervention was viewed favorably by 74% of oncologists. Conclusion Although TPCC was viewed favorably, implementation was logistically challenging because of short stays, high-acuity symptoms, and individual provider resistance. TPCC improved patients' understanding of their cancer. This population demonstrates high palliative care needs, warranting further research into how best to deliver care.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rocque GB; Campbell TC; Johnson SK; King J; Zander MR; Quale RM; Eickhoff JC; Cleary JF
  • Start Page

  • 462
  • End Page

  • 469
  • Volume

  • 50
  • Issue

  • 4