Impact of Staffing on Access to Palliative Care in U.S. Hospitals

Tamara Dumanovsky, Maggie Rogers, Lynn Hill Spragens, R. Sean Morrison, Diane E. Meier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Over the past decade over two-thirds of U.S. hospitals have established palliative care programs. National data on palliative care program staffing and its association with operational outcomes are limited. Objective: The objective of this report is to examine the impact of palliative care program staffing on access to palliative care in U.S. hospitals. Methods: Data from the National Palliative Care Registry™ for 2014 were used to calculate staffing levels, palliative care service penetration, and time to initial palliative care consultation for 398 palliative care programs operating across 482 U.S. hospitals. Results: Hospital-based palliative care programs reported an average service penetration of 4.4%. Higher staffing levels were associated with higher service penetration; higher service penetration was associated with shorter time to initial palliative care consultation. Discussion: This report demonstrates that operational effectiveness, as measured by staffing and palliative care service penetration, is associated with shorter time to palliative care consultation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-999
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2015


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