Palliative care in trauma patients is still evolving. The goal was to compare characteristics, outcomes, triggers and timing for palliative care consultations (PCC) in geriatric (≥65 y.o.) and non-geriatric trauma patients.
Retrospective study included 432 patients from two level 1 trauma centers who received PCC between December 2012 and January 2019. Non-geriatric (n = 61) and geriatric (n = 371) groups were compared for: mechanism of injury (MOI), Injury Severity Score (ISS), Revised Trauma Score (RTS), Glasgow Coma Score (GCS), Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders, futile interventions (FI), duration of mechanical ventilation (DMV), ICU admissions, ICU and hospital lengths of stay (ICULOS; HLOS), timing to PCC, and mortality. Further propensity matching (PM) analysis compared 59 non-geriatric to 59 Geriatric patients matched by ISS, GCS, and DNR.
Geriatric patients were older (85.2 versus 49.7), with falls as predominant MOI. Non-geriatric patients comprised 14.1% of all patients with PCC and were more severely injured than Geriatrics: with statistically higher ISS (24.1 versus 18.5), lower RTS (5.4 versus 7.0), GCS (7.1 versus 11.5), with predominant MOI being traffic accidents, all P < 0.01. Non-Geriatrics had more ICU admissions (96.7% versus 88.1%), longer ICULOS (10.2 versus 4.7 days), DMV (11.1 versus 4.1 days), less DNR (57.4% versus 73.9%), higher in-hospital mortality (12.5% versus 2.6%), but double the time admission-PCC (11.3 versus 4.3 days) compared to Geriatrics, all P < 0.04. In PM comparison, despite same injury severity, Non-geriatrics had triple the time to PCC, five times the HLOS of geriatrics, and more FI (25.4% versus 3.4%), all P < 0.001.
PCC remains underutilized in non-geriatric trauma patients. Despite higher injury severity, non-geriatrics received more aggressive treatment, and had three times longer time to PCC, resulting in higher rate of FI than in Geriatrics.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.