The Economic Burden of End-of-Life Illness
Palliative Care: Core Skills and Clinical Competencies, 2nd Edition, p. 658, Linda L. Emanuel, ed., Elsevier Health Sciences, 2011
Posted: 10 Aug 2012 Last revised: 12 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2011
The economic domain is not often a priority topic for clinicians; however, economic issues permeate the health care experience of clinicians, patients, and their families and caregivers. These issues are especially important to patients at the end of life and to those families on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum, but the lessons learned in providing high-quality care and support are applicable to all patient populations. This chapter focuses on how economic burdens may contribute to the suffering of the patient and relevant third parties, and how these burdens are expressed in various domains of the human experience. We first examine what constitutes the economic domain with respect to end-of-life illness and care. Following that, we review the empirical evidence about the economic impact of illness, with special attention given to dementia and cancer. Finally, we provide brief, practical guidance for dealing with the economic issues that may arise in treatment of patients.
Keywords: palliative care, end-of-life, economics, caregiving, illness
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