Across the healthcare spectrum, patients and their families need evidence in order to make informed choices about their care needs. Palliative care is no exception, and Australia is in a unique position to provide such evidence.
The aim of this national study was to compare the symptom outcomes of patients receiving hospital based palliative care to those receiving home based palliative care. The outcomes of 25,870 palliative of patients who died under the care of a hospital or home based palliative care service between January 2015 and December 2016 were included. Assessments using the Symptom Assessment Scale on admission and again just prior to death were analysed.
The data demonstrate that those receiving palliative care in hospital have better pain and symptom outcomes than those receiving palliative care at home. Reasons for this difference are multi-factorial and must be considered in relation to the patient’s right to choose their place of care, treatment preferences, family/carer supports at home and resources.