Racial Disparities in Utilization of Palliative Care Among Patients Admitted With Advanced Solid Organ Malignancies

Kimberley Lee, Faiz Gani, Joseph K. Canner, Fabian M. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: There is increasing recognition of the importance of early incorporation of palliative care services in the care of patients with advanced cancers. Hospice-based palliative care remains underutilized for black patients with cancer, and there is limited literature on racial disparities in use of non-hospice-based palliative care services for patients with cancer. Objective: The primary objective of this study is to describe racial differences in the use of inpatient palliative care consultations (IPCC) for patients with advanced cancer who are admitted to a hospital in the United States. Design: This retrospective cohort study analyzed 204 175 hospital admissions of patients with advanced cancers between 2012 and 2014. The cohort was identified through the National Inpatient Dataset. International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision codes were used to identify receipt of a palliative care consultation. Results: Of this, 57.7% of those who died received IPCC compared to 10.5% who were discharged alive. In multivariable logistic regression models, black patients discharged from the hospital, were significantly less likely to receive a palliative care consult compared to white patients (odds ratio [OR] black: 0.69, 95% CI: 0.62-0.76). Conclusions: Death during hospitalization was a significant modifier of the relationship between race and receipt of palliative care consultation. There are significant racial disparities in the utilization of IPCC for patients with advanced cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-546
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • National Inpatient Sample
  • black
  • disparities
  • inpatient
  • palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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