Retrospective Review of Trauma Icu Patients With and Without Palliative Care Intervention

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Journal of the American College of Surgeons




BACKGROUND: Older trauma patients present with poor preinjury functional status and more comorbidities. Advances in care have increased the chance of survival from previously fatal injuries with many left debilitated with chronic critical illness and severe disability. Palliative care (PC) is ideally suited to address the goals of care and symptom management in this critically ill population. A retrospective chart review was done to identify the impact of PC consults on hospital length of stay (LOS), ICU LOS, and surgical decisions.

STUDY DESIGN: A Level 1 Trauma Center Registry was used to identify adult patients who were provided PC consultation in a selected 3-year time period. These PC patients were matched with non-PC trauma patients on the basis of age, sex, race, Glasgow Coma Scale, and Injury Severity Score. Chi-square tests and Student's t-tests were used to analyze categorical and continuous variables, respectively. Any p value >0.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: PC patients were less likely to receive a percutaneous endoscopic gastric tube or tracheostomy. PC patients spent less time on ventilator support, spent less time in the ICU, and had a shorter hospital stay. PC consultation was requested 16.48 days into the patient's hospital stay. Approximately 82% of consults were to assist with goals of care.

CONCLUSION: Specialist PC team involvement in the care of the trauma ICU patients may have a beneficial impact on hospital LOS, ICU LOS, and surgical care rendered. Earlier consultation during hospitalization may lead to higher rates of goal-directed care and improved patient satisfaction.