Table 1.

Patient characteristics at time of referral to palliative care consultation by condition prompting palliative care consultation

CharacteristicCondition Prompting Palliative Care ConsultationP Value
Renal DiseaseOther Serious Illnessesa
Mean age (SD), yr72.8 (15.2)71.9 (16.8)0.06
Sex (men), % (n)54.5 (576)48.5 (15,074)<0.001
Referral location, % (n)<0.001
 Medical/surgical36.4 (383)43.5 (13,439)
 Critical care22.2 (232)23.2 (7157)
 Telemetry/step down37.0 (390)25.5 (7869)
 Other4.4 (48)7.8 (2422)
Reason for referral, % (n)
 Goals of care/advanced care planning81.5 (859)74.2 (23,013)<0.001
 Pain management14.6 (154)20.5 (6343)<0.001
 Support for patient/family14.2 (150)18.5 (5729)<0.001
 Hospice referral/discussion17.6 (186)17.7 (5498)0.95
 Other symptom management10.0 (105)15.5 (4822)<0.001
 Comfort care6.5 (69)8.0 (2477)0.09
 Withdrawal of interventions3.3 (35)4.0 (1245)0.26
 Assess for transfer to comfort care2.0 (21)2.2 (691)0.60
 No reason given2.2 (23)1.4 (444)0.05
POLST at time of consult (yes), % (n)11.5 (1117)10.1 (2996)0.20
Advance directives at consult (yes), % (n)21.3 (217)20.4 (6066)0.50
Mean time between admission and palliative care consultation request (95% CI), d5.1 (4.1 to 6.1)4.7 (4.6 to 4.9)0.40
Patients receiving a request for palliative care referral within 24 h of admission, % (n)59.3 (619)56.4 (17,185)0.06
Mean palliative performance scale score (95% CI), %36.0 (34.9 to 37.2)34.9 (34.7 to 35.1)0.08
Symptoms at time of consult (moderate/severe), % (n)
 Pain24.7 (118)30.9 (4737)0.004
 Anxiety14.9 (66)15.3 (2184)0.90
 Nausea5.9 (27)5.9 (871)>0.99
 Dyspnea30.5 (39)41.6 (1862)0.01
  • POLST, physician’s orders for life-sustaining treatment; 95% CI, 95% confidence interval.

  • a Other serious illnesses include cancer, heart disease, pulmonary disease, and neurologic disease.