Randomized Evaluation of Default Access to Palliative Services

Clinical Trial ID: NCT02505035


This is a large pragmatic, randomized controlled trial to test the real-world effectiveness of inpatient palliative care consultative services in improving a number of patient- and family-centered processes and outcomes of care among seriously ill hospitalized patients. The investigators hypothesize that improved patient-centered outcomes can be achieved without higher costs by simply changing the default option for inpatient palliative care consultation for eligible patients from an opt-in to an opt-out system. To test this hypothesis the investigators will conduct a clinical trial at 11 hospitals using the same electronic health record within Ascension Health, the largest non-profit health system in the U.S.

The REDAPS trial aims to generate large-scale, experimental evidence regarding the real-world effectiveness of inpatient palliative consultative services (IPCS) and to test the incremental effectiveness and costs of a simple, scalable method to increase IPCS utilization among properly selected patients. The REDAPS trial will also compare the effectiveness of different palliative care team structures and services and identify patient subgroups most likely to benefit from IPCS. To achieve these goals, the investigators will conduct a clinical trial at 11 Ascension Health hospitals using the same electronic health record. Participating hospitals first contribute a minimum of 4 months of data under the control paradigm (opt-in model), where physicians must identify patients who may benefit from palliative care consultation and actively order such services. Then, using a stepped-wedge design, the hospitals are randomly assigned to begin the intervention in intervals spaced approximately 2.7 months apart. During the intervention, patients meeting consensus criteria for eligibility for palliative care consultation are identified by the electronic health record, a consultation is ordered by default, physicians may cancel the order after being alerted to it, and patients or family members may decline such services. By the end of the trial, all hospitals will have utilized the intervention paradigm of palliative care consultation for at least 4 months. The REDAPS trial will compare outcomes (clinical, economic, and process measures) before and after implementation within hospitals, as well as comparisons among hospitals at given time points.


Inclusion Criteria: 1. Age 65 years or older 2. Current hospitalization of at least 3 calendar days 3. Diagnosis of one or more of the following: - End-stage renal disease (ESRD) on dialysis - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with home oxygen dependence or 2 or more hospitalizations in the past 12 months - Dementia admitted from a long-term care facility or prior placement of a surgical feeding tube or 2 or more additional hospitalizations in the past 12 months Exclusion criteria: 1. Patients younger than 65 years old will not receive the intervention

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    National Institute on Aging (NIA)

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