Adherence to measuring what matters: Description of an inpatient palliative care service of an Urban Teaching Hospital

Dulce M. Cruz-Oliver, Martha Abshire, Oscar Cepeda, Patricia Burhanna, Jennifer Johnson, David Vera Velazquez, Jennifer Chen, Karim Diab, Kara Christopher, Miriam Rodin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Benefits of palliative care have been extensively described; however, reports on adherence to national quality indicators are limited. Objectives: This study focuses on describing the characteristics of patients who were seen at an urban academic hospital and their care team's adherence to 5 out of 10 Measuring What Matters (MWM) quality indicators. Design: Retrospective chart review Setting/Subjects: Patients seen by inpatient palliative care service from January 2014 to December 2015 in an urban academic hospital. Measurements: Patient age, gender, ethnicity, disease category, discharge end point, life-sustaining preferences, surrogate decision-maker documentation, and initial palliative assessment were analyzed using descriptive, parametric, and nonparametric statistics. Results: During two years, 1272 patients were seen by the inpatient palliative care service. Fifty-one percent of patients were male, with an average age of 68 years. The majority were Caucasian (57%) and African American (41%). Life-limiting illnesses included were cancer, complex chronic illnesses, and gastrointestinal illness. Adherence to comprehensive palliative care assessment was measured at 64%; initial visit assessment for physical symptoms was 38%; code status preference was 99%; care consistent with preference in vulnerable elders was 99%; and surrogate documentation was noted at 33%. Compared to hospital patients discharged without hospice, patients discharged with hospice care had consults with higher adherence to comprehensive assessment and surrogate documentation quality standards (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Adherence to MWM measures was variable. Subjects discharged with hospice services were more likely to receive comprehensive assessment within 5 days of admission and surrogate documentation compared to those subjects without hospice care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-79
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • adherence
  • measuring what matters
  • palliative care
  • quality
  • quality measures
  • teaching hospital


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