Comparing the costs of alternative models of end-of-life care

McBride, Tom and Morton, Alec and Nichols, Andy and Van Stolk, Christian (2011) Comparing the costs of alternative models of end-of-life care. Journal of Palliative Care, 27 (2). p. 126. ISSN 2369-5293

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Abstract

This study explores the financial consequences of decreased acute care utilization and expanded community-based care for patients at the end of life in England. A Markov model based on cost and utilization data was used to estimate the costs of care for cancer and organ failure in the last year of life and to simulate reduced acute care utilization. We estimated at 1.8 pound billion the cost to the taxpayer of care for the 127,000 patients dying from cancer in 2006. The equivalent cost for the 30,000 people dying from organ failure was 553 pound million. Resources of 16 pound to 171 pound million could be released for cancer. People generally prefer to die outside hospital. Our results suggest that reducing reliance on acute care could release resources and better meet peoples' preferences. Better data on the cost-effectiveness of interventions are required. Similar models would be useful to decision-makers evaluating changes in service provision.