hospice_inpatient_unitsHospice Inpatient Units (IPUs) are a more cost efficient way to provide care for terminal ICU patients according to a recent study in Critical Care Medicine.

The 2014 study reviewed the charts of ICU and dedicated hospice inpatient unit deaths over a 6-month period. Results identified 167 transfers and 99 missed opportunities. Missed opportunities were considered patients admitted to the hospital for more than 48 hours who either adopted a palliative course or had a planned termination of life-sustaining therapy. Transferred patients were older (66.9 years old vs. 60.4 years old), less likely to use ventilation and vasopressors, and less likely to receive a palliative care consult than missed opportunities.

Findings showed that transfers to hospice inpatient units saved 585 ICU bed days – resulting in cost savings for hospitals and the healthcare system overall. While the cost savings are remarkable, the benefit of using hospice for the patient and family from a psychosocial perspective is incredible.

To read the study in its entirety, click here.