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Vitamin D levels in hospice in-patients
  1. Pippa Lovell1 and
  2. Kathryn Bullen1,2
  1. 1 St Cuthbert's Hospice, Durham, UK
  2. 2 Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mrs Kathryn Bullen, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK; kathryn.bullen{at}


Objective Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D was obtained alongside routine blood tests in all suitable patients admitted to the St Cuthbert’s Hospice Inpatient Unit for a period of 12 months. Supplementation was offered to exclude vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency as a contributor to the complex pain and symptom profile of our patients.

Methods During admission, and alongside routine blood tests, a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D test was requested for suitable patients. Supplementation was offered to patients with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D less than 50 nmol/L.

Results This audit identified that 79.73% of patients assessed had a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level less than 50 nmol/L and were therefore insufficient or deficient in vitamin D. The results of the audit were discussed within the clinical team at the hospice and guidance changed to obtain serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in all suitable patients. A reaudit highlighted that some patients were missed from testing and therefore reminders were sent to the clinical team.

Conclusions Most patients admitted to St Cuthbert’s Hospice had either insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D. It seems reasonable for all suitable palliative care patients to have their vitamin D level checked and to be started on a suitable dose of vitamin D replacement therapy.

  • clinical assessment
  • hospice care
  • clinical decisions
  • quality of life
  • service evaluation

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  • Contributors PL is a speciality doctor and KB a pharmacist, working at St Cuthbert's Hospice. PL planned and designed the audit, including deciding upon the inclusion criteria and appropriate 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels at which to initiate supplementation. PL conducted the audit and ensured all relevant patients were included. Both PL and KB were involved in literature review and in analysing the results of the audit and its relevance to the literature and clinical practice within the hospice. KB wrote up the audit for dissemination and publication.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.