Go to content

Resource use and costs of end-of-life/palliative care: Ontario adult cancer patients dying during 2002 and 2003


The objective of this study is to estimate the direct medical cost of end-of-life and palliative (EOL/PAL) care for cancer patients during the last six months of their lives–or, during the period from diagnosis to death, if briefer–in 2002 and 2003, in Ontario, Canada. A linkage of cancer registry and administrative data is used to determine the costs of healthcare resources used during the EOL/PAL care period. Costs are analyzed by cancer diagnosis, location of death, and type of service. The total Ontario Ministry of Health-funded cost of EOL/PAL care for cancer patients is estimated to be about CAD$544 million per year, with an average per patient cost of about $25,000 in 2002-2003. Results suggest that acute care consumes 75 percent of EOL/PAL funding and that only a small proportion of healthcare services used by EOL/PAL care cancer patients is likely to be formal palliative care.



Walker H, Anderson M, Farahati F, Howell D, Librach SL, Husain A, Sussman J, Viola R, Sutradhar R, Barbera L. J Palliat Care. 2011; 27(2):79-88.

Contributing ICES Scientists

Research Programs

Associated Sites