Resource Consumption and Costs of Palliative Care Services in Spain: A Multicenter Prospective Study

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2006 Jun;31(6):522-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2005.11.015.


Patients (n=395) with terminal-stage cancer receiving attention from palliative care services (PCSs) were recruited over a period of 15 consecutive days from 171 participating PCS units. Resource consumption and costs were evaluated for 16 weeks of follow-up, and the findings were compared with a study conducted in 1992 so as to assess change over time. The most frequent health care interventions were homecare visits, hospital admissions, and patient-consultant phone calls. PCS provided 67% of all services and consultation interventions in 91% of patients. Compared with the historical data, there was a significant shift from the use of conventional hospital beds toward palliative care beds, a reduced hospital stay (25.5-19.2 days; P=0.002), an increase in the death-at-home option (31%-42%), a lower use of hospital emergency rooms (52%-30.6%; P=0.001), and an increase in programmed care. Compared to the previous resource consumption and expenditure study in 1992, the current PCS policy implies a cost saving of 61%, with greater efficiency and no compromise of patient care.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Resources / economics*
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Palliative Care / economics*
  • Spain