Worldwide, many patients with cancer, are infrequently referred to palliative care or are referred late. Oncologists and haematologists may act as gatekeepers, and their views may facilitate or hinder referrals to palliative care. This review aimed to identify, explore and synthesise their views on referrals systematically.
BACKGROUND: Increased burnout level and decreased job satisfaction in oncology nurses negatively affect the quality of life of the employees and impair the quality of nursing care, services to be provided.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: The aim of this study was to determine levels and to compare of burnout and job satisfaction among cancer nurses in oncology, hematology and palliative care clinics.The research was conducted between July 2019 - December 2019 in oncology, hematology and pallitive care clinics in three different public training and research hospitals. Each nurse completed a Sociodemographic Data Form, the Minnesota Job Satisfaction Scale and the Maslach Burnout Scale.
RESULTS: Nurses were working for averagely 50.81±7.59 hours per week and averagely 200.72±29.09 hours per month. Mean weekly shift number of the nurses was 9.49±4.43. There was a statistically significant and negative correlation between the emotional exhaustion subscale scores of the nurses included in the study and their internal satisfaction scores external satisfaction scores and total satisfaction scores (p<0.001). There was a statistically significant and negative correlation between the nurses' Depersonalisation subscale scores and internal satisfaction scores, external satisfaction scores and total satisfaction scores (p<0.001). A statistically significant and positive correlation was found between the nurses' personal accomplishment subscale scores and internal satisfaction scores, external satisfaction scores and total satisfaction scores (p<0.001).
CONCLUSION: Nurses in palliative care clinics had the highest emotional exhaustion. Also there is a significant correlation between the job satisfaction and burnout levels of nurses working in hemotology, oncology and palliative care clinics providing care to cancer patients. There is a significant correlation between the job satisfaction and burnout levels of nurses working in hemotology, oncology and palliative care clinics providing care to cancer patients.
Background: Pediatric palliative care (PPC) for oncology patients improves quality of life and the likelihood of goal-concordant care. However, barriers to involvement exist.
Objectives: We aimed to increase days between PPC consult and death for patients with refractory cancer from a baseline median of 13.5 days to =30 days between March 2019 and March 2020.
Methods: Outcome measure was days from PPC consult to death; process measure was days from diagnosis to PPC consult. The project team surveyed oncologists to identify barriers. Plan-do-study-act cycles included establishing target diagnoses, offering education, standardizing documentation, and sending reminders.
Results: The 24-month baseline period included 30 patients who died and 25 newly diagnosed patients. The yearlong intervention period included six patients who died and 16 newly diagnosed patients. Interventions improved outcome and process measures. Targeted patients receiving PPC =30 days prior to death increased from 43% to 100%; median days from consult to death increased from 13.5 to 159.5. Targeted patients receiving PPC within 30 days of diagnosis increased from 28% to 63%; median days from diagnosis to consult decreased from 221.5 to 14. Of those without PPC consult = 30 days after diagnosis, 17% had template documentation of the rationale.
Conclusion: Interventions utilized met the global aim, outcome, and process measures. Use of QI methodology empowered providers to involve PPC. Poor template use was a barrier to identifying further drivers. Future directions for this project relate to expanding the target list, creating long-term sustainability, formalizing standards, and surveying patients and families.
Background: In June 2016, when the Parliament of Canada passed Bill C-14, the country joined the small number of jurisdictions that have legalized medical assistance in dying (maid). Since legalization, nearly 7000 Canadians have received maid, most of whom (65%) had an underlying diagnosis of cancer. Although Bill C-14 specifies the need for government oversight and monitoring of maid, the government-collected data to date have tracked patient characteristics, rather than clinician encounters and beliefs. We aimed to understand the views of Canadian oncologists 2 years after the legalization of maid.
Methods: We developed and administered an online survey to medical and radiation oncologists to understand their exposure to maid, self-perceived knowledge, willingness to participate, and perception of the role of oncologists in introducing maid as an end-of-life care option. We used complete sampling through the Canadian Association of Medical Oncologists and the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology membership e-mail lists. The survey was sent to 691 physicians: 366 radiation oncologists and 325 medical oncologists. Data were collected during March-June 2018. Results are presented using descriptive statistics and univariate or multivariate analysis.
Results: The survey attracted 224 responses (response rate: 32.4%). Of the responding oncologists, 70% have been approached by patients requesting maid. Oncologists were of mixed confidence in their knowledge of the eligibility criteria. Oncologists were most willing to engage in maid with an assessment for eligibility, and yet most refer to specialized teams for assessments. In terms of introducing maid as an end-of-life option, slightly more than half the responding physicians (52.8%) would initiate a conversation about maid with a patient under certain circumstances, most commonly the absence of viable therapeutic options, coupled with unmanageable patient distress.
Conclusions: In this first national survey of Canadian oncologists about maid, we found that most respondents encounter patient requests for maid, are confident in their knowledge about eligibility, and are willing to act as assessors of eligibility. Many oncologists believe that, under some circumstances, it is appropriate to present maid as a therapeutic option at the end of life. That finding warrants further deliberation by national or regional bodies for the development of consensus guidelines to ensure equitable access to maid for patients who wish to pursue it.
Communication is a facilitating tool in palliative care, enabling the development of a therapeutic process based on universal humanistic values, with benefits for the team, cancer patient, and family. This theme is of great importance and highlights the significant contributions to clinical practice in the context of palliative care in oncology with an emphasis on communication.
PURPOSE: The Oncology Care Model (OCM) was developed to improve care while also supporting patient-centered practices. This model could significantly affect experiences of patients with cancer; however, previous studies have not explored patient perspectives.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: This cross-sectional study used focus group and survey methodology to explore patient experiences in the OCM. The sample included 213 patients (OCM patients, n = 130 recruited within OCM practices; non-OCM patients, n = 83 recruited via e-mail from the Cancer Support Community Cancer Experience Registry).
RESULTS: Findings suggest that patients in OCM practices were more likely to report that their cancer care team asked about social/emotional distress or concerns and more likely to have social/emotional resources offered. OCM patients were also more likely to have discussed advance directives with providers. They were also more likely to be satisfied with provider explanations of treatment benefits as well as treatment risks and adverse effects. Lastly, OCM patients were significantly more satisfied with discussion of treatment costs and provided higher ratings of preparation by their cancer care team for management of adverse effects.
CONCLUSION: Patients in this study reported experiences consistent with many of the key goals of the OCM. This is promising and may indicate the need to expand the model. However, because of the potential selection bias of our sampling method, more research is needed.
The definition of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) in oncology varies with upper limits up to age 39. Younger AYAs, ages 12-24 years, are often cared for within pediatrics. In caring for AYAs with cancer, there are unique considerations that become even more important to recognize, acknowledge, and address in AYAs with life-threatening cancer receiving palliative care. This review highlights important factors such as psychosocial development, cultural considerations, and support structure, which should be considered when providing palliative care to AYAs with cancer during the various stages of care: introduction of palliative care; symptom management; advanced care planning (ACP); end-of-life (EOL) care; and bereavement.
CONTEXT: Malignant bowel obstruction (MBO) is a complication of advanced malignancy. For inoperable patients, symptoms are often treated using analgesics, anticholinergics, and anti-emetics. There are, however, few published guidelines for the medical management of MBO.
OBJECTIVE: To measure the effect of the combination of dexamethasone, octreotide, and metoclopramide ("triple therapy") in patients with MBO, compared to patients who received none of the 3 medications ("no drug therapy").
METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of patients with MBO admitted in a single-center comprehensive cancer center. Patients who received dexamethasone, octreotide, and metoclopramide during their hospitalization for treatment of inoperable MBO were selected for analysis. Patients were excluded if they received a venting gastric tube. Rate of de-obstruction as well as time to de-obstruction were measured.
RESULTS: There were 20 patients identified who received all 3 drugs of interest, and 29 patients identified who received none of the 3 medications. There was no statistically significant difference in rates of de-obstruction between the 2 groups, though there was a non-significant trend toward patients who received triple therapy were more likely to reach de-obstruction, compared to patients who had no drug therapy (95% vs. 83%, p = 0.379); there was no significant difference in adjusted analysis.
CONCLUSION: In patients with inoperable MBO, there was no statistically significant difference in rates of de-obstruction with triple drug therapy compared to patients who received none of the 3 drugs, though the study may not have been powered to detect a difference and further investigation is warranted.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and families facing challenges associated with life-threatening illness. In order to effectively deliver palliative care, patient and caregiver priorities need to be incorporated in advanced cancer care.
AIM: This study identified experiences of patients living with advanced colorectal cancer and their caregivers to inform the development of an early palliative care pathway.
DESIGN: Qualitative patient-oriented study.
SETTINGS/PARTICIPANTS: Patients receiving care at two cancer centres were interviewed using semistructured telephone interviews to explore their experiences with cancer care services received prior to a new developed pathway. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and the data were thematically analysed.
RESULTS: From our study, we identified gaps in advanced cancer care that would benefit from an early palliative approach to care. 15 patients and 7 caregivers from Edmonton and Calgary were interviewed over the phone. Participants identified the following gaps in advanced cancer care: poor communication of diagnosis, lack of communication between healthcare providers, role and involvement of the family physician, lack of understanding of palliative care and advance care planning.
CONCLUSIONS: Early palliative approaches to care should consider consistent and routine delivery of palliative care information, collaborations among different disciplines such as oncology, primary care and palliative care, and engagement of patients and family caregivers in the development of care pathways.
Background: The opioid epidemic has spurred investigations for nonopioid options, yet limited research persists on medical marijuana's (MMJ) efficacy in managing cancer-related symptoms.
Objective: We sought to characterize MMJ's role on symptomatic relief and opioid consumption in the oncologic population.
Design: Retrospective chart review of MMJ-certified oncology patients was performed. Divided patients into MMJ use [MMJ(+)] versus no use [MMJ(-)], and Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS)-reported pain cohorts: “mild-moderate” versus “severe.”
Measurements: Medical records were reviewed for ESAS, to measure physical and emotional symptoms, and opiate consumption, converted into morphine milligram equivalents (MME). Minimal clinically important differences were determined. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests determined statistical significance between MMJ-certification and most recent palliative care visit.
Results: Identified 232 patients [95/232 MMJ(-); 137/232 MMJ(+)]. Pain, physical and total ESAS significantly improved for total MMJ(-) and MMJ(+); however, only MMJ(+) significantly improved emotional ESAS. MMJ(-) opioid consumption increased by 23% (97.5–120 mg/day MME, p = 0.004), while it remained constant (45–45 mg/day MME, p = 0.522) in MMJ(+). Physical and total ESAS improved in mild-moderate-MMJ(-) and MMJ(+). Pain and emotional symptoms worsened in MMJ(-); while MMJ(+)'s pain remained unchanged and emotional symptoms improved. MMJ(-) opioid consumption increased by 29% (90–126 mg/day MME, p = 0.012); while MMJ(+)'s decreased by 33% (45–30 mg/day MME, p = 0.935). Pain, physical, emotional, and total ESAS scores improved in severe-MMJ(-) and MMJ(+); opioid consumption reduced by 22% in MMJ(-) (135–106 mg/day MME, p = 0.124) and 33% in MMJ(+) (90–60 mg/day MME, p = 0.421).
Conclusions: MMJ(+) improved oncology patients' ESAS scores despite opioid dose reductions and should be considered a viable adjuvant therapy for palliative management.
Context: Early integration of palliative care (PC) into adult oncology practice has been shown to improve quality of life and health care utilization; however, little is known about PC in young adults with cancer.
Objectives: Our primary objective was to determine rates and timing of PC consultation in young adult patients with advanced solid tumor cancer at a single institution.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of young adults of age 18–39 years with advanced solid tumor malignancy at an urban academic medical center between June 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015.
Results: Of 129 patients identified, 70 of 129 (54%) had a PC consult and 34 of 70 were inpatient-only consults. PC consults occurred for a median of 104 days before death, and for those with inpatient-only consults, PC consults occurred for a median of 18 days. Patients with worse recent Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status were more likely to have had a PC consult (p < 0.001). Of the patients who died during the study period, patients with PC consults were more likely to have been hospitalized (72% vs. 47%), in the intensive care unit (21% vs. 0%), in the emergency room (ER) (72% vs. 47%), and have received chemotherapy (17% vs. 0%) within 30 days of death compared with those who did not have a consult; however, these differences were not statistically significant.
Conclusion: In this analysis, over half of young adults with advanced solid tumors received PC consults. PC consult typically occurred for one year after diagnosis and about three months before death. Additional research is needed to identify how to better integrate PC early in this patient population and assess the resulting impact.
En 2006, à la suite de la circulaire DHOS 2005/101, nous avons créé une réunion multidisciplinaire de soins de support. Il existe très peu de données dans la littérature dans ce domaine et nous avons souhaité reporter ici notre expérience. Pour cela, les dossiers présentés sur les six premiers mois de l’année 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 et 2018 ont été analysés, soit 405 situations correspondant à 352 patients. La majorité était constituée de femmes (55,7 %, n = 196) et l’âge médian lors de la présentation était de 66 ans [20–93]. Dans 8 % (n = 32) des situations, la prise en charge était curative, dans 58 % (n = 233) des cas, palliative avec traitement spécifique en cours, dans 31,3 % (n = 126) palliative exclusive et enfin 2,7 % (n = 11) des discussions concernaient l’après cancer. Le nombre médian de participants était de 10 avec une présence régulière des oncologues, de l’équipe de soins palliatifs, de l’assistante sociale, la diététicienne, la kinésithérapeute et la psychologue. Les deux motifs les plus fréquents de présentation étaient le devenir et une demande d’intervention de l’équipe mobile de soins palliatifs. La décision de la réunion était relativement bien appliquée avec un taux de conformité de 81,8 %. Cependant, on peut regretter le délai court de 1,5 mois entre le décès et la concertation. La création d’un département transversal de soins de support a fait prendre de l’ampleur à cette réunion et il serait pertinent dans un avenir proche de vérifier si elle permet une meilleure anticipation.
OBJECTIVE: Integrated palliative care for populations with cancer is now highly recommended. However, numerous physicians working in cancer care are still reluctant to refer patients to specialist palliative care teams. This study explores their perceptions of palliative care and factors influencing reasons to refer to specialist palliative care.
METHODS: We used a qualitative methodology based on semistructured interviews with physicians working in cancer care, in two tertiary hospitals and one comprehensive cancer centre with access to a specialist palliative care team. Forty-six physicians were invited and 18 interviews were performed until data saturation. Participants were mainly men, licensed in cancer care, 37.9 years old on average and had 13 years of professional experience. The length of interviews was on average 34 min (SD=3). Analysis was performed accordingly with the thematic analysis.
RESULTS: The data analysis found four themes: symptom management as a trigger, psychosocial support, mediation provided by interventions, and the association with terminal care or death. Palliative care integrated interventions were mainly perceived as holistic approaches that offered symptom management expertise and time. They were valued for helping in consolidating decision-making from a different or external perspective, or an 'outside look'. Several barriers were identified, often due to the confusion between terminal care and palliative care. This was further highlighted by the avoidance of the words 'palliative care', which were associated with death.
CONCLUSIONS: National policies for promoting palliative care seemed to have failed in switching oncologists' perception of palliative care, which they still consider as terminal care.
Introduction: Palliative care is an important aspect of gynaecological oncology practice. In order to successfully integrate end-of-life (EOL) care in the disease trajectory, it is crucial to incorporate systematic training in subspecialty programmes in gynaecological oncology. We aimed to evaluate the quality of training in palliative care across gynaecological oncology fellows in Europe and to provide a framework to facilitate learning opportunities.
Methods: A web-based questionnaire was sent to members of the European Network of Young Gynae-Oncologists (ENYGO). The survey consisted of 36 items covering six domains: respondents’ characteristics, quality and quantity of teaching, curriculum achievements, observation and feedback, EOL clinical practice and attitudes about palliative care.
Results: Of the 703 clinicians enrolled in the study, 142 responded (20.2%). Although the majority worked in university hospitals, only half of them (47%) were in a formal subspecialty programme. The majority of respondents (60%) were trained without a mandatory rotation in palliative care units and considered the quality of EOL care teaching as ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’ (57.7%). The majority of respondents (71.6%) did not receive any supervision or feedback at the time of their first consultation on changing the goals of care.
Conclusion: Our study underlines lack of structured teaching and supervision in palliative care contents among European fellows in gynaecological oncology. Broad education of healthcare providers is a key factor to achieve the integration of palliative care in gynaecological oncology practice. Stakeholders like European Society of Gynaecological Oncology/ENYGO play an important role to facilitate educational activities and training programmes targeting to EOL care.
Background: Ongoing assessment of psychological reaction to illness in palliative and end of life care settings is recommended, yet validated tools are not routinely used in clinical practice. The Distress Thermometer is a short screening tool developed for use in oncology, to detect individuals who would benefit from further psychological assessment. However the optimal cut-off to detect indicative psychological morbidity in patients with advanced cancer receiving specialist palliative care is unclear.
Aim: To provide the first validation of the Distress Thermometer in an advanced cancer population receiving specialist palliative care in a UK hospice setting.
Design: Receiver Operating Characteristics analysis was used to compare the sensitivity and specificity of cut-offs indicative of psychological morbidity on the Distress Thermometer in comparison to the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
Setting/Participants: Data were derived from 202 patients with advanced cancer who were approached on admission to inpatient or day hospice care, with 139 patients providing complete data on both measures.
Results: The area under the curve was optimal using a Distress Thermometer cut-off score of >=6 for total distress and for anxiety, and a cut-off score of >=4 optimal when screening for depression.
Conclusions: The Distress Thermometer is a valid, accurate screening tool to be used in advanced cancer but with caution in relation to the lack of specificity. With little variation between the area under the curve scores, arguably a Distress Thermometer cut-off score of >=5 is most appropriate in screening for all types of psychological morbidity if sensitivity is to be prioritised.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Integration of specialist palliative care into routine oncologic care improves patients' quality of life and survival. NCCN cancer treatment guidelines are instrumental in standardizing cancer care; yet, it is unclear how palliative and hospice care are integrated in these guidelines. In this study, we examined the frequency of occurrence of "palliative care" and "hospice care" in NCCN guidelines and compared between solid tumor and hematologic malignancy guidelines.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We reviewed all 53 updated NCCN Guidelines for Treatment of Cancer. We documented the frequency of occurrence of "palliative care" and "hospice care", the definitions for these terms if available, and the recommended timing for these services.
RESULTS: We identified a total of 37 solid tumor and 16 hematologic malignancy guidelines. Palliative care was mentioned in 30 (57%) guidelines (24 solid tumor, 6 hematologic). "Palliative care" was mentioned more frequently in solid tumor than hematologic guidelines (median 2 vs. 0, P=0.04). Among the guidelines that included palliative care in the treatment recommendation, 25 (83%) only referred to NCCN palliative care guideline. Specialist palliative care referral was specifically mentioned in 5/30 (17%) guidelines. Only 14/24 (58%) solid tumor guidelines and 2/6 (33%) hematologic guidelines recommended palliative care in the front line setting for advanced malignancy. Few guidelines (N=3/53, 6%) mentioned hospice care.
CONCLUSION: "Palliative care" was absent in almost half of NCCN cancer treatment guidelines and was rarely discussed in guidelines for hematologic malignancies. Our findings underscored opportunities to standardize timely palliative care access across NCCN guidelines.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Integration of specialist palliative care into routine oncologic care is associated with improved patient outcomes. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology have an important role to standardize palliative care involvement for cancer patients. It is unclear how often palliative care referral is recommended in these guidelines. In this study involving 53 NCCN Guidelines for Treatment of Cancer, the researchers found that palliative care was not mentioned in over 40% of NCCN guidelines and was rarely discussed in guidelines for hematologic malignancies. These findings underscored opportunities to standardize timely palliative care access across NCCN guidelines.
The aim of supportive cancer care is to actively manage patients' physical, psychologic, and spiritual concerns, independent of prognosis. Complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) is increasingly gaining greater acceptance and support for its beneficial value in supportive cancer care. The utilization of CIM early in the cancer trajectory, during treatment and during survivorship periods, as well as during end of life, addresses a great number of unmet needs that patients affected by cancer raise. In addition, recent research supports the role that CIM has in reducing suffering and distress both physically and emotionally, as well as enhancing well-being in patients affected by cancer and their families. CIM is increasingly seen not only as an adjunctive add-on treatment or perhaps even as a luxury item for the affluent but actually as an important component in supportive cancer care for all patients. It addresses many aspects of care that sometimes are not being addressed with conventional means. With the increase in CIM-related research, as well as the increased clinical experience in oncology programs worldwide, CIM is gradually becoming an essential ingredient in supportive and palliative cancer care. In this narrative review, the authors look systematically at the contribution that CIM has in supportive care in each stage of the cancer trajectory, reflecting the needed role that CIM has in supportive care. The presented data will provide a sampling of the available clinical research for each of the broad stages being described.
CONTEXT: Due to the need for isolation of inpatients with suspected COVID-19, accuracy in identifying these cases in Emergency Department (ED) has great relevance, especially in Palliative Oncology Care Unit (PCU).
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficiency of clinical criteria adopted to identify suspected cases of COVID-19 by the ED in PCU.
METHODS: All patients admitted to PCU between April and June 2020 from ED were included. The clinical criteria adopted to identify suspected COVID-19 cases were: being in contact with a suspected or confirmed case less than 14 days ago and / or presenting fever with no defined focus and / or respiratory symptoms not explained by oncological disease and / or suggestive image in radiological examination (if necessary). All suspected cases were submitted to deep nasal and throat swab for SARS COV-2 investigation by Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Test, adopted as gold standard. Inpatients hospitalized by ED, without suspicion, and then diagnosed with COVID-19 within 10 days of hospitalization were considered as false-negative cases.
RESULTS: During the period, 327 patients were admitted from ED. Of these, 69 (21%) were considered suspects, of whom 34 (49%) tested positive for COVID-19. The sensitivity of the clinical criterion to identify suspected cases was 87%, specificity was 88%, positive predictive value was 49%, negative was 98% and accuracy was 88%.
CONCLUSION: The clinical criteria adopted to identify suspected cases of COVID-19 at ED proved to be efficient, with low risk of spreading in-hospital infection, avoiding unnecessary isolation of patients.
CONTEXT: Early palliative care (PC) has been shown to improve the quality of life of children with cancer, yet referral practices by pediatric oncology providers remains inconsistent and few patients receive a formal PC consult.
OBJECTIVES: We sought to describe patient characteristics used by oncologists for PC referral and identify ways to improve PC integration into the care for children with cancer.
METHODS: This mixed-methods study used semi-structured audiotaped interviews to explore the patient or disease characteristics used by pediatric oncology providers to trigger PC referral. Conventional content analysis was applied to interview transcripts.
RESULTS: 77 participants with diverse experience were interviewed. Over 75% of participants reported that PC was consulted "too late" and cited communication and systems issues as the top barriers. A majority of participants (85%) stated that a screening tool would be helpful to standardize referral practices to PC. Characteristics such as poor prognosis (88%), symptom management (86%), comorbidities (65%), and psychosocial needs (65%) were commonly reported triggers that should initiate PC consultation. However, when presented with case scenarios that included these characteristics, participants did not consistently identify the PC triggers. Nearly 50% of participants stated they had received some formalized PC training, however only one third of these participants noted completing a PC rotation.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that pediatric oncologists are committed to improving the integration of PC for their patients and that standardization of referral practices, through the use of a screening tool, would be of benefit. Additional PC education might reinforce pediatric oncologists' recognition of palliative care triggers.
BACKGROUND: Pediatric patients with sarcomas experience significant morbidity and compromised quality of life throughout their course. These times could be viewed as opportunities for increased subspecialty palliative care (PC). Systematically defining opportunities for additional PC support has not occurred in pediatric oncology. The frequency, timing, and associated factors for palliative opportunities in pediatric patients with sarcomas are unknown.
METHODS: A priori, nine palliative opportunities were defined (disease progression or relapse, admission for symptoms, social concerns or end-of-life, intensive care or bone marrow transplant admission, phase 1 trial or hospice enrollment, do-not-resuscitate status). A single-center retrospective review was conducted on patients aged 0-18 years with bone/soft tissue sarcomas who died from January 1, 2012 to November 30, 2017. Demographic, disease, and treatment data were collected. Descriptive statistics were performed. Opportunities were evaluated over quartiles from diagnosis to death.
RESULTS: Patients (n = 60) had a mean of nine (SD = 4) palliative opportunities with the majority occurring in the last quartile of the disease course. Number and type of opportunities did not differ by demographics or diagnosis. Eighteen patients (30%) received PC consultation a median of 2.2 months (interquartile range [IQR] 11.5) prior to death. Consultation was unrelated to diagnosis or total opportunities.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with sarcomas incur repeated events warranting subspecialty PC, which increase toward the end-of-life. Increased PC utilization may help decrease suffering and bolster family coping during these episodes. Additional work should further refine if opportunities differ across cancers, and how to incorporate this framework into clinical oncology care to prevent missed opportunities for PC.