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Palliative care can reduce emergency room visits, study finds

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Palliative care reduces the number of visits seniors in long-term care settings make to emergency rooms, a new study finds.

The 250 seniors studied by Hebrew Rehabilitation Center and the Institute for Aging Research also were less depressed, researchers noted. All of the study subjects lived at the rehabilitation center; half received palliative care services over two years.

“This study showed a decrease in emergency room visits for palliative care patients, avoiding an often frightening event for patients and families, while decreasing the high cost of this expensive service for our healthcare system,” said lead author Jody Comart, Ph.D., the palliative care director at Hebrew SeniorLife.

Both institutions are affiliated with Harvard Medical School. The study was published Friday in The Gerontologist.

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