Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Although most cancer centers have palliative care programs, scope of services varies widely

Date:
March 16, 2010
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Palliative care services are available at most U.S. cancer centers, although the scope of services offered and the degree of integration between palliative care and oncology care varies widely among centers, according to a new study.

Palliative care services are available at most U.S. cancer centers, although the scope of services offered and the degree of integration between palliative care and oncology care varies widely among centers, according to a study in the March 17 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on cancer.

Related Articles


David Hui, M.D., M.Sc., of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, presented the findings of the study at a JAMA media briefing.

Although significant progress has been made in cancer treatment, approximately half of all patients with cancer eventually die of their disease, and one-third of cancer deaths happen within 6 months of diagnosis, according to background information in the article.

"Palliative care outpatient clinics, inpatient consultation teams, palliative care units (PCUs), and hospices all play an integral role providing symptom control, psychosocial support, and transition of care for patients with cancer and their families along the cancer care continuum. Based on this understanding, multiple national and international organizations support early incorporation of palliative care into oncology practice," the authors write. Despite this support, little is known about the current state of palliative care in cancer centers in the U.S. "A more thorough picture of the level of palliative care that currently exists in these cancer centers would identify deficiencies and barriers to comprehensive cancer care and allow development of specific strategies to improve care delivery."

Dr. Hui and colleagues conducted a study to determine the availability and degree of integration of palliative care services in U.S. cancer centers. The study consisted of a survey, between June and October 2009, of 71 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers and a random sample of 71 non-NCI cancer centers, of both executives and palliative care clinical program leaders, where applicable, regarding their palliative care services. A total of 142 and 120 surveys were sent to executives and program leaders, with response rates of 71 percent and 82 percent, respectively.

The researchers found that the NCI cancer centers were significantly more likely to have a palliative care program (50/51 [98 percent] vs. 39/50 [78 percent]), at least 1 palliative care physician (46/50 [92 percent] vs. 28/38 [74 percent]), an inpatient palliative care consultation team (47/51 [92 percent] vs. 28/50 [56 percent]), and an outpatient palliative care clinic (30/51 [59 percent] vs. 11/50 [22 percent]). Few centers had an institution-operated hospice (37/101 [37 percent]) or dedicated palliative care beds (23/101 [23 percent]).

The median (midpoint) duration from referral to death was 7 days (n=49) for inpatient consultation teams, 7 days (n = 8) for PCUs, and 90 days (n =11) for outpatient clinics. "Our survey revealed that palliative care patients were referred too late in the disease trajectory, a marker of limited access and integration," the authors write.

Cancer center executives, supportive of stronger integration and increasing palliative care resources, cited reasons such as poor reimbursement and limited institutional resources as barriers to delivery of palliative care. The researchers also found that research programs, palliative care fellowships and mandatory rotations for oncology fellows were uncommon.

"Although most cancer centers now have a palliative care program, significant gaps and delays in the delivery of care remain. To fulfill American Society of Clinical Oncology's vision of full integration of palliative care as a routine part of comprehensive cancer care by 2020, we urgently need to consolidate infrastructure such as outpatient clinics and PCUs, increase training of palliative care professionals and oncologists, conduct research on novel integration models and quality improvement measures, educate patients and their families, and advocate for public health policy changes. Oncologists, palliative care specialists, executives, and political leaders need to work closely together to ensure access to high-quality palliative care for all patients with cancer in the United States," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Hui; Ahmed Elsayem; Maxine De La Cruz; Ann Berger; Donna S. Zhukovsky; Shana Palla; Avery Evans; Nada Fadul; J. Lynn Palmer; Eduardo Bruera. Availability and Integration of Palliative Care at US Cancer Centers. JAMA, 2010; 303 (11): 1054-1061 [link]

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Although most cancer centers have palliative care programs, scope of services varies widely." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316101554.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2010, March 16). Although most cancer centers have palliative care programs, scope of services varies widely. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316101554.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Although most cancer centers have palliative care programs, scope of services varies widely." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100316101554.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins