Background: Palliative care (PC) and hospice care are underutilized for patients with end-stage liver disease, but factors associated with these patterns of utilization are not well understood. Objective: We examined patient-level factors associated with both PC and hospice referrals in patients with decompensated cirrhosis (DC). Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting/Subjects: Patients with DC hospitalized at a single tertiary center and followed for one year. Measurements: We assessed PC and hospice referrals during follow-up and examined patient-level factors associated with the receipt of PC and/or hospice, as well as associated clinical outcomes. We also examined late referrals (within one week of death). Results: Of 397 patients, 61 (15.4%) were referred to PC, 71 (17.9%) were referred to hospice, and 99 (24.9%) were referred to PC and/or hospice. Two hundred patients (50.4%) died during the one-year follow-up. In multivariable logistic regression, referral to PC was associated with increased comorbidity burden, ascites, increased MELD (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease)-Na score, lack of listing for liver transplant, and unmarried status. Hospice referral was associated with increased comorbidities, portal vein thrombosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. PC referrals were late in 68.5% of cases, and hospice referrals were late in 62.7%. Late PC referrals were associated with younger age and married status. Late hospice referrals were associated with younger age and recent alcohol use. Conclusions: PC and hospice is underutilized in patients with DC, and most referrals are late. Patient-level factors associated with these referrals differ between PC and hospice.
- liver cirrhosis
- palliative care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine