Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neuro-inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, associated with accumulation of irreversible neurological disabilities through both inflammatory relapses and progressive neurodegeneration. Patients with debilitating MS could benefit from palliative care perspectives both during relapses that lead to transient disability as well as later in the disease course when significant physical and cognitive disability have accrued. However, no data about palliative care utilization trends of MS patients are available. We examined 10-year temporal trends of palliative care and assessed independent associations of palliative care with hospital utilization and cost using the 2005–2014 national inpatient sample. The national trends of palliative care utilization in MS patients increased by 120 times from 0.2% to 6.1% during 2005–2014, particularly with the dramatic single-year increase between 2010 (1.5%) and 2011 (4.5%). Moreover, the proportion of receiving palliative care in in-hospital death gradually increased from 7.7% in 2005 to 58.8% in 2014. Palliative care in MS inpatients may affect hospital utilization and charges in different ways. Hospital palliative care was associated with increased length of stay (LOS) (β = 0.444 days, p < 0.001) and in-hospital death (OR = 15.35, 95% CI [13.76, 17.12]), but associated with decreased hospital charges (β = −$2261, p < 0.001). In conclusion, the temporal trends of palliative care use in MS inpatients gradually increased with an exponential increase between 2010 and 2011 during 2005–2014, which is mostly attributed to patients with higher risk of in-hospital death. Moreover, palliative care was associated with reduced hospital charge with increased LOS and in-hospital death.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Physiology (medical)