I had been on the phone with Madeleine's mother for fifteen minutes, and she had sobbed throughout. She pleaded with me, "You won't even let our family visit her together. If you really want to help my daughter, you will let us stay with her." Madeleine, who was twenty-four years old, was dying of end-stage acute myeloid leukemia and was intubated in one of our intensive care units. Her intensivist had requested a clinical ethics consultation for potentially inappropriate medical treatment-in my world of clinical ethics consultation, routine stuff. Except that, in March 2020, nothing was routine anymore. The Covid-19 pandemic calls for creative thinking about ad hoc and post hoc bereavement efforts, and it may result in efforts to revise existing accounts of what constitutes a good death in order to accommodate patients' and families' experiences at the end of life during a pandemic.
Hospice interdisciplinary teams (IDTs) are required to meet regularly to update care plans for terminally ill patients and their family caregivers. Although providers see value in these meetings, they also experience frustration over meeting inefficiencies and communication challenges. The current article presents ENVISION, a tool designed to improve communication in hospice IDT meetings by providing attendees with access to up-to-date patient and family data to inform clinical decision making. In the current qualitative descriptive study, researchers explored the perspectives of hospice providers (n = 21) and family caregivers (n = 10) regarding ENVISION's usefulness and ease of use. Numerous factors influenced participants' perceptions of the tool as useful, including its impact on task efficiency, effectiveness, and difficulty. Perceptions of ENVISION's ease of use focused on ease of learning, operating, and interpreting data the tool provided. Findings suggest ENVISION would benefit hospice nurses in care management and senior leadership positions. [Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 46(7), 9-14.].
Little is known about Marshallese palliative care practices. We explored traditional and contemporary Marshallese palliative care practices and examined generational differences. We performed three focus groups in 2011-2012 among Marshall Islanders in Hawai'i. A native speaking interpreter assisted group facilitators. Data were analyzed using classical thematic triangulation methods to identify specific Marshallese palliative care practices, the effect of economic and social challenges in Hawai'i, and generational differences comparing young and old. Nineteen persons (10 men and 9 women, youth aged 17-27 years, and elders as defined in Marshallese culture, aged 46-79) participated. A "good death" was defined as "peaceful and pain free," occurring from natural causes. Factors associated with a "good death" included gathering of family to absolve conflicts, and proper and timely cultural practices. Factors associated with "bad deaths" included young age, active suffering, accidents, suicides, "black magic/curses," or lack of timely or proper burial. Comparing generational differences, older Marshallese had differing opinions regarding preferred place of death, burial site, cultural practice preservation, artificial prolongation of life, and cremation. Barriers included mortuary fees, cost of transporting bodies, United States (US) government policies, and wait times for death certificates. Many cultural factors contribute to "good" or "bad" deaths. Attitudes toward palliative care practices differ by generation. Having previously documented different approaches by Yapese, a generalized "one size fits all" approach to Micronesians is inappropriate. Overcoming identified barriers may facilitate practices necessary for a good death in Micronesian populations in their home nations and as they migrate to communities throughout the US.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Hospice care confers well-documented benefits to patients and their families, but it is underutilized. One potential reason is inadequate family support to make end-of-life decisions and care for older adults on hospice at home. We assessed the association between amount of family support and hospice use among a population of decedents and among specific illness types.
DESIGN: Prospective cohort study using the National Health and Aging Trends Study waves 2011 to 2017, linked to Medicare claims data.
SETTING: Contiguous United States.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1,868 NHATS decedents.
MEASUREMENTS: Outcome variable was 1 day or longer of hospice. Family caregiving intensity was measured by self-reported hours of care per week and number of caregivers. Covariates included probable dementia status and other demographic, clinical, and functional characteristics.
RESULTS: At the end of life, hours of family caregiving and numbers of helpers vary widely with individuals with dementia receiving the most hours of unpaid care (mean = 64.5 hours per week) and having 2.4 unpaid caregivers on average. In an adjusted analysis, older adults with cancer receiving 40 hours and more of unpaid care/week as compared with fewer than 6 hours per week were twice as likely to receive hospice care at the end of life (odds ratio = 2.0; 95% confidence interval = 1.0-4.1). This association was not seen among those with dementia or among decedents in general. No significant association was found between number of caregivers and hospice use at the end of life.
CONCLUSION: Older adults at the end of life receive a high number of hours of help at the end of life, many from more than one caregiver, which may shape hospice access. Better understanding of disparities in hospice use can facilitate timely access to care for older adults with a serious illness.
PURPOSE: Little information exists on factors that predict opioid misuse in oncology. We adopted the Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients With Pain-Short Form (SOAPP-SF) and toxicology testing to assess for opioid misuse risk. The primary objective was to (1) identify characteristics associated with a high-risk SOAPP-SF score and noncompliant toxicology test, and (2) determine SOAPP-SF utility to predict noncompliant toxicology tests.
METHODS: From July 1, 2017, to December 31, 2017, new patients completed the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS), SOAPP-SF, and narcotic use agreement. Toxicology test results were collected at subsequent visits.
RESULTS: Of 223 distinct patients, 96% completed SOAPP-SF. Mean age was 61 ± 12.7 years, 58% were female, 68% were White, and 28% were Black. Eighty-three eligible patients (38%) completed toxicology testing. Younger age, male sex, and increased ESAS depression scores were associated with high-risk SOAPP-SF scores. Smoking habit was associated with an aberrant test. An SOAPP-SF score >= 3 predicted a noncompliant toxicology test.
CONCLUSION: Male sex, young age, and higher ESAS depression score were associated with a high SOAPP-SF score. Smoking habit was associated with an aberrant test. An SOAPP-SF of >= 3 (sensitivity, 0.74; specificity, 0.64), not >= 4, was predictive of an aberrant test; however, performance characteristics were decreased from those published by Inflexxion, for >= 4 (sensitivity, 0.86; specificity, 0.67). The specificity warrants caution in falsely labeling patients. The SOAPP-SF may aid in meeting National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommendations to screen oncology patients for opioid misuse.
BACKGROUND: Early palliative care consultation ("PCC") to discuss goals-of-care benefits seriously ill patients. Risk factor profiles associated with the timing of conversations in hospitals, where late conversations most likely occur, are needed.
OBJECTIVE: To identify risk factor patient profiles associated with PCC timing before death.
METHODS: Secondary analysis of an observational study was conducted at an urban, academic medical center. Patients aged 18 years and older admitted to the medical center, who had PCC, and died July 1, 2014 to October 31, 2016, were included. Patients admitted for childbirth or rehabilitationand patients whose date of death was unknown were excluded. Classification and Regression Tree modeling was employed using demographic and clinical variables.
RESULTS: Of 1141 patients, 54% had PCC "close to death" (0-14 days before death); 26% had PCC 15 to 60 days before death; 21% had PCC >60 days before death (median 13 days before death). Variables associated with receiving PCC close to death included being Hispanic or "Other" race/ethnicity intensive care patients with extreme illness severity (85%), with age <46 or >75 increasing this probability (98%). Intensive care patients with extreme illness severity were also likely to receive PCC close to death (64%) as were 50% of intensive care patients with less than extreme illness severity.
CONCLUSIONS: A majority of patients received PCC close to death. A complex set of variable interactions were associated with PCC timing. A systematic process for engaging patients with PCC earlier in the care continuum, and in intensive care regardless of illness severity, is needed.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this report is to describe the effect of computed tomography-guided bilateral pudendal nerve cryoablations on pain and time to discharge in the setting of acute hospitalizations secondary to refractory pelvic pain from cancer.
METHODS: Investigators queried the medical record for patients who underwent pudendal nerve cryoablation using the Category III Current Procedural Technology code assignment 0442T or Category I code 64640 for cases prior to 2015. The resulting list was reviewed, and procedures performed on inpatients for intractable pelvic pain related to neoplasm were selected. The final cohort was then analyzed with regard to patient demographics, procedure details, technical success, safety, pain scores, and time to discharge.
RESULTS: Ten patients underwent cryoablation by 3 operators for palliation of painful pelvic neoplasms between June 2014 and January 2019. All probes were satisfactorily positioned and freeze cycles undertaken without difficulty. There were no procedure-related complications or adverse events. The mean difference in pre- and posttreatment worst pain scores was significant (n = 5.20, P = .003). The mean time to discharge following the procedure was 2.3 days.
CONCLUSION: Computed tomography-guided percutaneous cryoablation of the bilateral pudendal nerves may represent a viable option in the setting of acute hospitalization secondary to intractable pain in patients with pelvic neoplasms.
In a field that strives to care for patients and families together, what can palliative care clinicians do when patients' families are physically absent? The Covid-19 pandemic has put both literal and figurative walls between health care professionals and families. How health care workers respond to these disconnections might have a lasting impact on patients, on families, and on our practice. Recently, I saw this in the case of a patient our palliative care team was consulted to see. Mr. B was minimally responsive and dying from multisystem organ failure of unclear etiology. As in other cases during this pandemic, our team became a facilitator of interaction between the patient and the physically absent family, seeing an intimacy we normally would not, in this case, by being present while our intern held the phone to Mr. B's ear for an end-of-life call from his wife, son, and daughter. Such moments force us clinicians to be even more present for our families and patients, and they allow us to bear witness to the strength and sadness and love that we might otherwise miss.
OBJECTIVES: Hospice care (HC) is seen as a comprehensive approach, that enhances quality of end-of-life (EOL) care, for terminally ill patients. Despite its positive aspects, HC enrolment is disproportionate for rural patients, who are less likely to use HC in comparison to their urban counterparts. The purpose of this study was to explore decision-making experiences, related to utilisation of HC programmes from a retrospective perspective, with family caregivers (FCGs) in a rural US-Mexico border region.
DESIGN: This qualitative study was conducted from May 2017 to January 2018 using semistructured face to face interviews with FCGs. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
SETTING: The HC programme was situated at a local home health agency, located in rural Southern California, USA.
PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-eight informal FCGs of patients who were actively enrolled in the HC programme agreed to participate in the study.
RESULTS: Conversation about HC as an option was initiated by home healthcare staff (39.3%), followed by physicians (32.1%). Emerging themes related to challenges in utilisation of HC and decision-making included: (1) communication barriers; (2) lack of knowledge/misperception about HC; (3) emotional difficulties, including fear of losing their patient, doubt and uncertainty about the decision, denial and (4) patients are not ready for HC. Facilitators included: (1) patient's known EOL wishes; (2) FCG-physician EOL communication; (3) the patient's deteriorating health and (4) home as the place for death.
CONCLUSIONS: HC patients' FCGs in this rural region reported a lack of knowledge or misunderstanding of HC. It is recommended that healthcare providers need to actively engage family members in patient's EOL care planning. Optimal transition to an HC programme can be facilitated when FCGs are informed and have a clear understanding about patients' medical status along with information about HC.
Patients with cancer face many difficult decisions and encounter many clinical situations that undermine decisional capacity. For this reason, assessing decision-making capacity should be thought of at every medical encounter. The culmination of variable disease trajectories, following patients to the end of life, use of high-risk treatments, and other weighty personal decisions require attention to patients' ability to engage in decisions. Oncologists develop meaningful relationships with their patients. This familiarity may lead to forgoing the process of diligently assessing a patient's cognitive ability and/or decisional capacity when important decisions need to be made. While the process may feel like it takes place spontaneously, many subtle and overt details are involved with the decisions around cancer care that require pointed questioning and probing. Thus, there are many ways to fall short in determining decisional capacity. Clinicians are inconsistent in their decisional capacity determinations and generally assume more decisional capacity than the patient has. Consult and referral services such as ethics and psychiatry can help with treatment decisions and with assessing underlying psychosocial and psychiatric conditions. Decisional capacity may fluctuate and requires a variable amount of decisional ability depending on the clinical situation; hence, it is time-specific and decision-specific. This review is intended to provide a summary of key components of decisional capacity while highlighting areas in need of clinical refinement.
Background: Patients with hematologic malignancies (HM) often receive aggressive care at the end of life (EOL). Early palliative care (PC) has been shown to improve EOL care outcomes, but its benefits are less established in HM than in solid tumors.
Objectives: We sought to describe the use of billed PC services among Medicare beneficiaries with HM. We hypothesized that receipt of early PC services (rendered >30 days before death) may be associated with less aggressive EOL care.
Design: Retrospective cohort analysis
Setting/Subjects: Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare registry, we studied patients with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome, or myeloproliferative neoplasm who died between 2001 and 2015.
Measurements: We described trends in the use of PC services and evaluated the association between early PC services and metrics of EOL care aggressiveness.
Results: Among 139,191 decedents, the proportion receiving PC services increased from 0.4% in 2001 to 13.3% in 2015. Median time from first encounter to death was 10 days and 84.3% of encounters occurred during hospitalizations. In patients who survived >30 days from diagnosis (N = 120,741), the use of early PC services was more frequent in acute leukemia, women, and black patients, among other characteristics. Early PC services were associated with increased hospice use and decreased health care utilization at the EOL.
Conclusion: Among patients with HM, there was an upward trend in PC services, and early PC services were associated with less aggressive EOL care. Our results support the need for prospective trials of early PC in HM.
Background: Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac death for high-risk patients with heart failure (HF), but shocks from these devices can also cause pain and anxiety at the end of life. Although professional society recommendations encourage proactive discussions about ICD deactivation, clinicians lack training in conducting these conversations, and they occur infrequently.
Methods: As part of a six-center randomized controlled trial, we evaluated the educational component of a multicomponent intervention shown to increase conversations about ICD deactivation by clinicians who care for a subset of patients with advanced HF. This consisted of a 90-minute training workshop designed to improve the quality and frequency of conversations about ICD management. To characterize its utility as an isolated intervention, we compared HF clinicians' pre- and postworkshop scores (on a 5-point Likert scale) assessing self-reported confidence and skills in specific practices of advance care planning, ICD deactivation discussions, and empathic communication.
Results: Forty intervention-group HF clinicians completed both pre- and postworkshop surveys. Preworkshop scores showed high baseline levels of confidence (4.36, standard deviation [SD = 0.70) and skill (4.08, SD = 0.72), whereas comparisons of pre- and postworkshop scores showed nonsignificant decreases in confidence (-1.16, p = 0.252) and skill (-0.20, p = 0.843) after the training session.
Conclusions: Our findings showed no significant changes in self-assessment ratings immediately after the educational intervention. However, our data did demonstrate that HF clinicians had high baseline self-perceptions of their skills in advance care planning conversations and appear to be well-primed for further professional development to improve communication in the setting of advanced HF.
It is April 18th, 2020. I am writing this piece in New York City, the current world epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, listening to the most recent updates on the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19. In the city where I was born, educated, raised a family, live and made a career in Psychiatric Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In New York City alone, there are now at least 130,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and close to 14,000 deaths due to the virus. About 1,300 patients were admitted to the hospital here today, and 507 people died here of COVID-19 today. But this is a global pandemic affecting more than 185 countries, a global tragedy. 2.4 million COVID-19 cases reported worldwide, 165,000 deaths.
BACKGROUND: Historically, it has been assumed that the Emergency Department (ED) is a place for maximally aggressive care and that Emergency Medicine Providers (EMPs) are biased towards life-prolonging care. However, emphasis on early recognition of code status preferences is increasingly making the ED a venue for code status discussions (CSDs). In 2018, our hospital implemented a policy requiring EMPs to place a code status order (CSO) for all patients admitted through the ED. We hypothesized that if EMPs enter CSDs with a bias toward life-prolonging care, or if the venue of the ED biases CSDs towards life-prolonging care, then we would observe a decrease in the percentage of patients selecting DNR status following our institution's aforementioned CSO mandate.
METHODS: We present a retrospective analysis of rates of DNR orders placed for patients admitted through our ED comparing six-month periods before and after the implementation of the above policy.
RESULTS: Using quality improvement data, we identified patients admitted through the ED during pre (n=7,858) and post (n=8,069) study periods. We observed the following: after implementation DNR preference identified prior to hospital admission from the ED increased from 0.4% to 5.3% (relative risk (RR) 12.5; 95% CI: 5.2-29.9), defining CS in the ED setting at the time of admission increased from 2.4% to 98.6% (p <0.001), and DNR orders placed during inpatient admission was unchanged (RR=0.97 (95% CI = 0.88-1.07)).
DISCUSSION: Our results suggest that the ED can be an appropriate venue for CSDs.
Hospice social workers face many challenges in attempts to replicate or supplement the holistic support and unique services hospice provides for individuals discharged alive. This discontinuity in care can impact the types of supports needed by individuals and caregivers, which may or may not be accessible within their community. Patients and families who have access to community-based palliative care programs following a discharge generally tend to navigate the process with fewer challenges. This qualitative study (N = 24) explored both the challenges of the live discharge process and the opportunities within social work practice in the US. Results from this study emphasize the need for a framework to better approach a live discharge to ensure appropriate supports are accessible for all patients and caregivers. Specifically, results highlight both the concrete and psychosocial challenges in live discharges as a result of tension between current eligibility requirements and individual feelings and needs. Social workers also provided suggestions to improve the live discharge process, including attention to communication and preparation. This paper outlines specific challenges of live discharge from hospice, a framework for understanding presented challenges, and implications for policy and practice.
Person-centered, family-oriented services are integral to palliative and end-of-life care. Effective communication with providers informs the quality of the dying experience for patients and how families fare in bereavement. This paper reports findings from a study exploring how communication and care in the later stages of an advanced illness influence family caregivers’ well-being in bereavement. A concurrent triangulation design was used to analyze data collected during semi-structured interviews with 108 recently bereaved caregivers from a single hospice agency in Western New York. Findings from this study suggest that family caregivers assume the role of interpreter and advocate while engaged in both formal and informal communication with health care providers at the end of care-recipients’ lives. Findings also suggest that families are more likely to feel emotionally prepared for loss and grief when health care providers are available to communicate in a concise, consistent, and compassionate manner. The results illuminate the important connection between communication during the transition from late-stage illness to end-of-life care and preparation for bereavement. The paper concludes with a discussion of how findings from this study align with recent concerted efforts to establish standards and competencies for social work education and practice in palliative care.
The number of children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions is increasing, requiring an individualized approach and additional supportive care. The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for pediatric palliative care to be available to all children who would benefit. High quality pediatric palliative care is essential for these children. Collaborative team-based methods focused on improving quality of life have shown to improve outcomes in physical, emotional, and cognitive domains. Palliative care involvement at the time of diagnosis rather than just at the end of life has moved coordinated care upstream. All clinicians can and should deliver palliative care. The Joint Commission recommends having patient-centered palliative care services available for children, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is reimbursing clinicians for this coordinated care. This article details how all pediatric clinicians can positively influence the care of seriously ill children by incorporating palliative care principles into their daily care, resulting in better outcomes for their patients and families.
In palliative care, we strive to provide care to the whole patient. When we think about the whole patient, we include the people who are important in our patients' lives. Our New York City-based palliative care team has found that caring for patients' loved ones has proven to be an even more important aspect of the care we have provided during the COVID epidemic. In this article, we describe the multicomponenet interdisciplinary interventions we have implemented to enhance our ability to create a therapeutic alliance with family members and facilitate the provision of goal concordant care to patients with COVID during this extremely difficult time.
During the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is particularly critical to ensure that life-sustaining treatment (LST) such as intubation and resource-intensive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are aligned with a patient’s goals and values, and to avoid LSTs in patients with a poor prognosis that are unlikely to be beneficial, but have a high risk of causing additional suffering. The high volume and acuity of COVID-19 patients makes it extremely challenging for emergency department (ED) clinicians to take adequate time to clarify goals of care (GOC). We implemented an ED-based COVID-19 palliative care response team focused on providing high-quality GOC conversations in time-critical situations. We examined the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients who received this intervention.
Methods: This retrospective observational study was conducted in the ED of an urban, quaternary care academic medical center in New York, New York. We included 110 patients for whom the palliative care team was consulted between March 27, 2020, and April 10, 2020, with follow-up through May 9, 2020. Columbia University institutional review board approved this study and waived the need for informed consent.
Emergency department clinicians consulted the palliative care team for assistance with any palliative care-related needs, including GOC clarification and cases where stated GOC did not align with expected prognosis. The palliative care team (1 attending physician who was board-certified in hospice and palliative medicine, 1 hospice/palliative medicine fellow clinician, and 4 psychiatry resident physicians and fellow clinicians, all trained in GOC conversations and supervised by the palliative care attending physician) was available in person 12 hours per day, and for phone consultation overnight and on weekends. The palliative care intervention focused on GOC conversations: conveying the prognosis in a clear and simple way, exploring patients’ goals and values, and making care recommendations based on elicited goals.1,2
Deidentified demographic data were collected from the medical record. Primary outcomes included GOC before and after palliative care intervention, as well as GOC on death or discharge. Secondary outcomes included clinical course and length of stay in the hospital
Goals of care were defined as “full code” (pursue all LSTs including intubation and CPR); “do-not-resuscitate (DNR) only” (pursue all LSTs excluding CPR); “DNR/do-not-intubate (DNI), continue medical treatment” (pursue all LSTs excluding intubation and CPR); and “comfort-directed care” (forgo LSTs, deliver symptom-focused treatment only). The GOC were presumed to be full code if no advance directives or medical orders for life-sustaining treatment (MOLST) were found on presentation to the ED.
Six patients were still hospitalized at the time of data review; they were excluded from the analysis for clinical course.
Results: The 110 patients were aged a median (range) of 81.5 (46-101) years and 61 (55.4%) were women. Patient demographic and clinical characteristics are reported in Table 1. Most patients were community-dwelling elderly persons (aged >75 years) with at least 2 comorbidities and lacked decision-making capacity at the time of presentation. Very few patients presented with documented advance directives or MOLST and therefore were presumed to be full code.
The primary outcomes are summarized in Table 2. After initial palliative care intervention, the number of full code decreased from 91 patients (82.7%) to 20 patients (18.2%). Among these 71 patients (64.5%) in whom CPR was declined, mechanical ventilation was also declined in 61 patients (55.5%) (ie, 32 patients in DNR/DNI, continue medical treatment, 29 patients in comfort-directed care). On discharge, the number of full code further decreased to 9 patients (8.6%), whereas comfort-directed care increased to 54 patients (51.9%). The median (range) length of stay was 4 (0-28) days and 71 patients (68.2%) died in the hospital. Among 33 patients (31.7%) who were discharged alive, 6 patients (5.8%) were discharged with hospice care.
Discussion: The included patients’ demographic characteristics were consistent with those of critically ill patients with COVID-19 previously reported and with those of patients reported to be at highest risk of death from COVID-19. Patients without advance care planning conversations are known to be at risk of receiving unwanted, high-intensity, lower-quality care,5 even though many seriously ill patients do not prefer LSTs at the end of life.6
The most important finding in this study was, after palliative care intervention in the ED, most patients and their surrogates opted to forgo mechanical ventilation and/or CPR, and that tendency further increased on discharge. We believe timely GOC conversations by the palliative care team helped avoid unwanted LSTs for patients with a poor prognosis. Study limitations include potentially limited generalizability given the retrospective design at a single institution. Also, palliative care consultation was initiated by ED clinicians, which may have led to selection bias, though a high rate of altered GOC after intervention suggests significant, unaddressed need in the outlying population.
Purpose: The USA has observed a significant increase in the use of palliative care for patients diagnosed with advanced cancer. However, it is unknown how geographic variation affects patients’ use of palliative care services. We examined temporal and demographic trends in receipt of and timing of palliative care by state and region.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database. Study sample included community-dwelling patients aged = 65 years with metastatic lung cancer who were diagnosed between 2001 and 2015. Cochran-Armitage trend test was used to evaluate temporal trends in receipt of and timing of palliative care by states and census region.
Results: The proportion of metastatic lung cancer patients who received palliative care ranged from 16.4% in Washington and 16.3% in Connecticut to 6.4% in Louisiana. From 2001 to 2015, use of palliative care increased from 3.2 to 29.8% in the West region, from 3.3 to 31.9% in the Northeast region, from 3.8 to 36.2% in the Midwest region, and from 0.9 to 23.3% in the South region (all P < 0.001). The median time from the date of cancer diagnosis to the date of first palliative care visit varied geographically, from 44 days in Utah to 66 days in California. Hospital-based palliative care was most common in these states.
Conclusion: The substantial geographic variation in the use of palliative care suggesting a need for additional research on geographic disparities in palliative care and strategies that might improve state-level palliative care delivery.