Introduction: Studies addressing palliative care delivery in neuro-oncology are limited. Objectives: To compare inpatients with brain tumors who received palliative care (through referral or trigger) with those receiving usual care. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting/Subjects: Inpatients with primary or secondary brain tumors who did or did not receive palliative care at a U.S. medical center. Measurements: Sociodemographic, clinical, and utilization characteristics were compared. Results: Of 1669 brain tumor patients, 386 (23.1%) received palliative care [nontrigger: 246 (14.7%); trigger: 140 (8.4%)] and 1283 (76.9%) received usual care. Nontrigger patients were oldest (mean age 65.0 years; trigger: 61.1 years; usual care: 55.5 years; p < 0.001); sickest at baseline (mean Elixhauser comorbidity index 3.76; trigger: 3.49; usual care: 1.84; p < 0.001); and had highest in-hospital death [34 (13.8%), trigger: 10 (7.1%), usual care: 7 (0.5%); p < 0.001] and hospice discharge [54 (22.0%), trigger: 18 (12.9%), usual care: 14 (1.1%); p < 0.001]. Conclusions: Trigger criteria may promote earlier palliative care referral, yet criteria tailored for neuro-oncology are undeveloped.
- brain tumor