Cancer patients who communicate regularly with their doctors choose less costly end-of-life care

Cancer patients who discussed end-of-life care with their physicians prior to their death chose less expensive care than those who did not talk about this issue with their physicians, reports The Boston Globe. Because patients had a better understanding of their illness and what the costs associated with care were during the end stage of a patient's life, patients were able to make more educated choices, says the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

 

The study followed 600 patients with advanced cancer. Of those patients, 31% had talked to their doctors about end-of-life care, and as a result, the care they received during their last week of life cost 36% less than patients who had not discussed their end-of-life care with their physicians.

 

(SOURCES: The Boston Globe, http://boston.com, accessed March 26, 2009; HCPro Patient Safety Monitor, http://hcpro.com, March 11, 2009)