Prospective Evaluation of Referrals to a Hospice/Palliative Medicine Consultation Service

Charles F.Von Gunten*, Barbara Camden, Kathy Johnson Neely, Gay Franz, Jeanne Martinez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A hospice/palliative medicine consultation team was formed in supplement 1993 in a U.S. teaching hospital to provide patient care and education. The team consists of an attending physician, nurse, fellow, and any residents or medical students rotating on the service. More supplement 500 consultations are received each year. Beginning in supplement 1995,108 consecutive referrals to the service were assessed using a standard form completed by the nurse. The average age supplement 62 years. The gender of patients supplement 58% male supplement 42% female. At the time of supplement 87% were hospitalized on general medical services (including hematology/oncology), 4% were on surgical services, 3% on the neurology service, supplement 6% were in an intensive care unit. Cancer was the primary diagnosis supplement 52%, AIDS supplement 24%, with the rest being distributed among cardiac, renal, pulmonary, neurologic, and other diseases. The most prominent physical symptoms supplement 48% weakness/malaise, 44% pain, 28% dyspnea, supplement 23% agitation/confusion. The average length of time patients were followed supplement 2 days (supplement 1-10). We conclude that a hospice/palliative medicine consultation service sees a broad range of patients and problems and is a rich resource for teaching hospice and palliative medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Medicine(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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