Tag Archives: end-of-life

Limitation of Non-Beneficial Interventions and their Impact on the Intensive Care Unit Costs

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0028

Introduction: Using a plan to limit non-beneficial life support interventions has significantly reduced harm and loss of dignity for patients at the end of life. The association of these limitations with patients’ clinical characteristics and health care costs in the intensive care unit (ICU) needs further scientific evidence. Aim of the study: To explore decisions to limit non-beneficial life support interventions, their correlation with patients’ clinical data, and their effect on the cost of care in the ICU.
Material and Methods: We included all patients admitted to the general ICU of a hospital in Greece in a two-year (2019-2021) prospective study. Data collection included patient demographic and clinical variables, data related to decisions to limit (withholding, withdrawing) non-beneficial interventions (ΝΒΙs), and economic data. Comparisons were made between patients with and without limitation decisions.
Results: NBIs were limited in 164 of 454 patients (36.12%). Patients with limitation decisions were associated with older age (70y vs. 62y; p<0,001), greater disease severity score (APACHE IV, 71 vs. 50; p<0,001), longer length of stay (7d vs. 4.5d; p<0,001), and worse prognosis of death (APACHE IV PDR, 48.9 vs. 17.35; p<0,001). All cost categories and total cost per patient were also higher than the patient without limitation of NBIs (9247,79€ vs. 8029,46€, p<0,004). The mean daily cost has not differed between the groups (831,24€ vs. 832,59€; p<0,716). However, in the group of patients with limitations, all cost categories, including the average daily cost (767.31€ vs. 649.12€) after the limitation of NBIs, were reduced to a statistically significant degree (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Limiting NBIs in the ICU reduces healthcare costs and may lead to better management of ICU resource use.

Full text: PDF