Optimal approaches to the health economics of palliative care: report of an international think tank

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2009 Jul;38(1):4-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.04.008.


More people will need palliative care in aging societies with stretched health budgets and less ability to provide informal care. The future will bring new and tougher challenges to sustain, optimize, and expand the 8000 dedicated palliative care services that currently exist in the world. The full breakdown of the costs of palliative care is yet to be unveiled, and this has left huge unresolved questions for funding, costing, evaluating, and modeling palliative care. At an international meeting in London in November 2007, a group of 40 researchers, health economists, policy makers, and advocates exchanged their experiences, concerns, and recommendations in five main areas: shared definitions, strengths and weaknesses of different payment systems, international and country-specific research challenges, appropriate economic evaluation methods, and the varied perspectives to the costs of palliative care. This article reports the discussions that took place and the views of this international group of experts on the best research approaches to capture, analyze, and interpret data on both costs and outcomes for families and patients toward the end of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Internationality
  • Models, Economic*
  • Pain / economics*
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Palliative Care / economics*
  • Palliative Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care