Evaluation of cost of home therapy for patients with terminal diseases

Curr Opin Oncol. 1998 Jul;10(4):302-9. doi: 10.1097/00001622-199807000-00005.


Palliative care and palliative medicine embrace the philosophy and the body of knowledge regarding the correct treatment of patients with terminal disease. Palliative treatments can be delivered intramurally (eg, in a hospice or palliative care unit) or at home (home care hospice). The optimal delivery pattern consists of the co-utilization of both care settings, to allow patients who need palliative, supportive, and terminal care to benefit from each setting. In obtaining the available resources, health service costs in Western countries have lately become exorbitant. Home care hospice is a system capable of defeating the challenge on two fronts: to meet the patients' needs and to fulfill this task through economically advantageous practices. Home care hospice is undoubtedly more cost-effective than conventional or generic home care, conventional care (hospitalization), and inpatient hospice care. Its advantage is more evident in the last 3 months of life, due to shorter hospitalization and nonutilization of high-technology interventions and high-cost drugs. The development of a range of palliative care programs integrating primary territorial care and specialized palliative services can constitute the ideal synthesis to respond to patients' needs in a threefold manner: firstly, the patient's right to qualified palliative and terminal care; secondly, the requirements of health services, and lastly, cost containment through a correct and tailored use of available resources.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Home Care Services / economics*
  • Humans
  • Terminal Care / economics*