Background: Despite their importance, pediatric palliative care (PPC) services are still scantly diffused. In addition, eligibility criteria for PPC are quite complex. Consequently, clinicians require a tool that suggests how to refer patients with life-limiting diseases to the most appropriate service and how to properly allocate health care resources.
Objective: Recently, the Accertamento dei bisogni Clinico-Assistenziali Complessi in PEDiatria (ACCAPED) scale has been developed by a group of experts in PPC to evaluate the specific clinical needs of pediatric patients with a life-limiting disease. This study presents the validation of the ACCAPED scale.
Design: Validation of ACCAPED scale was pursued by means of description and analysis of clinical vignettes representing patients with challenging-to-evaluate needs who have to be referred to the most appropriate service (community care, general PPC, and specialized PPC). The evaluation of vignettes according to the clinical experience of the experts represented the gold standard against which the validity of the ACCAPED scale was tested by groups with different levels of experience (experts, pediatricians, and health care providers (HCPs) not involved in PPC).
Results: Results show a very high concordance between the evaluation of the vignettes through the ACCAPED scale and the evaluation by the clinical experience for experts in PPC and pediatricians. A less favorable grade of concordance has been recorded for HCPs not involved in PPC, suggesting that educational efforts to improve basic knowledge of PPC within the medical community are needed.
Conclusions: Overall, this study suggests that the ACCAPED scale is a useful tool to improve rationalization of resources and eligibility criteria for PPC.
Introduction: Advance directives are legal documents which individuals draw up to declare their treatment preferences and to appoint well-informed proxies to safeguard patient autonomy in critical situations when that individual is temporarily or no longer able to communicate these preferences. On December 22, 2017, the Italian Parliament approved the first law on end of life (“Provisions for informed consent and advance directives” L.219/2017), after a heated public and political debate lasting almost twenty years.
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the awareness, knowledge, opinions and attitudes regarding Italian Law 219/2017 and advance directives among the Italian population 15 months after its entry into force.
Methods: A nationwide population-based survey was conducted by a certified public opinion survey company. A sample size of 2000 interviews was planned. A structured questionnaire was developed to investigate awareness, opinions and attitudes concerning the law by a multiprofessional research team. The agreed-on version was pretested on a sample of 70 selected participants.
Results: The sample included 2000 valid interviews; 70.1% of respondents declared they had heard about the law on informed consent and advance directives. Respondents were asked to express their overall opinion on the law’s utility and importance: 88% declared that the law was quite or very important and 76% had a positive attitude towards making/registering advance directives.
Conclusion: The principles of Italian Law 219/2017 are aligned with the ethical sentiment of the vast majority of the Italian population. It is crucial to stimulate discussion to increase knowledge and awareness in order to increase the number of advance directives.
Aim: To describe the experience involving the early introduction of palliative care (PC) in oncological patients treated within the pediatrics oncology unit of the Istituto Nazionale Tumori of Milan and compare this cohort to a cohort of patients resident in the same area treated before the introduction of early palliative care.
Methods: A virtual team was assembled in 2015. The PC providers operate outside the hospital. Conference calls were scheduled to discuss patients’ problems. This sample was compared with the clinical records of patients residing in the same area who died between 2009-2014.
Results: Between January 2015 and April 2019, 41 patients residing in the Milan area mainly with CNS tumors or sarcomas, were referred to the team. Comparing the results with the previous cohort there was a rise in the number of patients dying at home or in a hospice and the duration of PC increased over time . From 2015 none of the patients died in an intensive care unit.
Conclusion: Patients managed by the virtual team were able to continue their cancer treatments, take part in Phase I trials and receive PC. All patients with a poor prognosis should have PC at an early stage.
The Veneto region of northern Italy, which has about 5 million inhabitants, was the second area of the country, after Lombardy, to face the spread of COVID-19. After the first case on February 21, 2020, the number of cases increased exponentially, and lockdown was enforced. The regional healthcare system was forced to implement appropriate measures to protect patients and healthcare providers from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, which causes COVID-19, while ensuring continued care.
The concept of a good death is crucial in palliative care, but its relationship with attitudes toward death and feelings of interconnectedness needs to be further deepened. The first aim of this study was to explore the concept of good death, attitudes toward death, and feelings of interconnectedness among family caregivers (FCs) and health-care providers (HCPs) of terminally ill patients with cancer. The second aim was to analyze associations of good death concept with attitudes toward death and feelings of interconnectedness. Participants were asked to assess the importance of features that characterize a good death. To explore each person's attitude toward death and feelings of interconnectedness, 3 open questions were used. The sample consisted of 49 participants: 24 (48.98%) FCs and 25 (51.02%) HCPs. Nine good death features were considered essential by more than 70% of participants. These referred to the physical (eg, symptoms control), social (eg, loved ones' presence), emotional (eg, sharing emotions), and spiritual (eg, inner peace) dimensions. Importance attributed to components of a good death such as patient's awareness and acceptance of death, meaning, respect for the patient's wishes, and inner peace were found to be associated with lack of avoidance and acceptance toward death and feelings of interconnectedness. Given the importance of FCs and HCPs in providing care and their impact on the patients' dying process, it is necessary to reflect upon how their personal attitudes and previous experiences influence the care of dying patients.
Although burnout syndrome has been investigated in depth, studies specifically focused on palliative home care are still limited. Moreover, there is still a lack of evidence regarding the interplay between emotional flexibility and sensitivity to context in preventing burnout in home care settings. For these reasons, the aims of this study were to examine burnout symptoms among practitioners specializing in palliative home care and to investigate the role of regulatory flexibility and sensitivity to context in understanding burnout. An exploratory cross-sectional design was adopted. A convenience sample (n = 65) of Italian specialist palliative care practitioners participated in this study. Participants were recruited between February and April 2019 from two palliative home care services that predominantly cared for end-of-life cancer patients. The Italian version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), the Flexible Regulation of Emotional Expression (FREE) scale (a measure of emotional flexibility), and the Context Sensitivity Index (CSI) (a measure of sensitivity to context) were administered. Analyses of variance were conducted using the three MBI factors as dependent variables and profession as an independent variable. Subsequently, three identical analyses of covariance were conducted with age, work experience, flexibility and sensitivity to context as covariates. The results showed a low burnout risk for all three of the MBI factors, and there were no gender differences. An ANOVA revealed a significant effect of profession type and age on the emotional exhaustion factor of the MBI, and an ANCOVA indicated that these effects persisted after covariates were accounted for. The results also showed a significant effect of the FREE score on emotional exhaustion. These findings can help explain the differential contributions of profession type and age to the burnout symptoms investigated. In addition, the emotional flexibility component, as an aspect of resilience, represents a significant and specific factor of emotional exhaustion. Interventions to prevent burnout must consider these relationships.
BACKGROUND: With a growing nursing home population suffering from chronic progressive illnesses and evolving patterns of comorbidities, end-of-life communication takes on a critical role to enable healthcare professionals to gather information about the resident's wishes for care at the end-of-life and organise the care plan accordingly.
AIM: To explore nurses' perspective about the process by which end-of-life communication impacts on the goal of end-of-life care in nursing home residents.
DESIGN: A qualitative descriptive research design based on thematic analysis was performed. Fourteen nurses involved in the care of residents during their last week of life were recruited across 13 Italian nursing homes and accounted for 34 semi-structured interviews. A combined approach of analysis that incorporated a data-driven inductive approach and a theory-driven one was adopted.
RESULTS: Twelve themes described how end-of-life communication may contribute to adjust the care plan in nursing home according to the nurses' perspective. Five antecedents (i.e. life crisis or transitions, patient-centered environment, arising the question of possible dying, quality of relationships and culture of care) influenced the establishment and quality of communication, and five attributes depicted the characteristics and potential mechanisms of end-of-life communication (i.e. healthcare professional-resident and healthcare professional-family carers communication, knowledge of family carers' preferences, knowledge of residents' preferences, family carers and residents understanding, and shared decision-making), while curative-oriented and palliative-oriented care goals emerged as consequences.
CONCLUSION: This study provides insight into the nursing perspective of end-of-life communication between healthcare professionals and bereaved family carers of nursing home residents. Several factors influenced the occurrence and quality of end-of-life communication, which contributed to the transition towards palliative-oriented care by using and improving knowledge about family cares' and resident's preferences for end-of-life care, promoting family carers and residents understanding about prognosis and treatments available, and fostering shared decision-making.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care is an important component of health care in pandemics, contributing to symptom control, psychological support, and supporting triage and complex decision making.
AIM: To examine preparedness for, and impact of, the COVID-19 pandemic on hospices in Italy to inform the response in other countries.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional telephone survey, in March 2020.
SETTING: Italian hospices, purposively sampled according to COVID-19 regional prevalence categorised as high (>25), medium (15-25) and low prevalence (<15) COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. A brief questionnaire was developed to guide the interviews. Analysis was descriptive.
RESULTS: Seven high, five medium and four low prevalence hospices provided data. Two high prevalence hospices had experienced COVID-19 cases among both patients and staff. All hospices had implemented policy changes, and several had rapidly implemented changes in practice including transfer of staff from inpatient to community settings, change in admission criteria and daily telephone support for families. Concerns included scarcity of personal protective equipment, a lack of hospice-specific guidance on COVID-19, anxiety about needing to care for children and other relatives, and poor integration of palliative care in the acute planning response.
CONCLUSION: The hospice sector is capable of responding flexibly and rapidly to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments must urgently recognise the essential contribution of hospice and palliative care to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure these services are integrated into the health care system response. Availability of personal protective equipment and setting-specific guidance is essential. Hospices may also need to be proactive in connecting with the acute pandemic response.
Italy is one of the oldest countries in Europe and in the world and now it is also one of the first countries that are fighting against COVID-19. In our country, the increasing life expectancy (80.5 for males and 84.9 for females, with a total life expectancy of 82.9) has led to very positive consequences for health and the well-being of elderly people: a very high number of older adults lives and acts independently in their daily life, even if they have one or more than one chronic disease. In the time of COVID-19's outbreak in Italy, the focus of the media was on elderly people for two main reasons. First, many older people demonstrated a very high civic sense and they were helping society to fight against the pandemic. Second, also in Italy, like in China, the older adults are at higher risk in being infected with COVID-19 and if they get ill, they have a higher risk of death. The balance previously achieved between age-related disorders and a good quality of life and good health is now under high pressure. It is very important to protect elderly people from infection, but also it is important to respect them and to support them in this complex situation. There is a great risk of "ageism". In agreement with Lloyd-Sherlock and colleagues (2020), in this editorial we propose some hints of analysis, starting from the ongoing experience in Italy.
The older Italian population is posing a challenge in the number of deaths for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). According to previous data from China, pre-existing health conditions dramatically increase the risk of dying from COVID-19. The presence of multiple diseases in older patients may be considered as a mark of frailty, which increases the person's vulnerability to stress and impairs the multisystemic compensatory effort to restore homeostasis. The clinical complexity associated with the management of frailty may increase the risk of complications during infection as well as the lack of the early recognition of atypical symptoms. There is an urgent need to share expertise and clinical management skills with geriatricians as well as the need for early diagnosis to start treatment at the earliest convenience in the community, with the aim to avoid the collapse of intensive care units.
Patients with cancer have an increased risk of developing severe forms of coronavirus disease 2019, and patients with advanced cancer who are followed at home represent a particularly frail population. Although with substantial differences, the challenges that cancer care professionals have to face during a pandemic are quite similar to those posed by natural disasters. We have already managed the oncological home care service in L’Aquila (middle Italy) after the 2009 earthquake. With this letter, we want to share the procedures and tools that we have started using at the home care service of the Tuscany Tumor Association during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Purpose: To determine the use of avoidable medications in end-of-life patients living at home when they were moved from the general practice setting to the palliative medicine physician (T1) and before death (T2).
Methods: This retrospective longitudinal study describes the prevalence of end-of-life patients cared for at home between April 2016 and December 2018 receiving preventive and symptomatic drug treatments. Socio-demographic data, diagnosis and drug treatments for each patient were collected in a web-based Case Report Form.
Results: The study sample comprised 1565 end-of-life patients with a median age (25–75 percentile) of 79.8 (72.5–85.3 years). All patients were treated with symptomatic drugs, and there were significantly fewer patients from T1 to T2 with at least one preventive medication at end of life (92.1% and, 60.8%, p < 0.0001). There was a significant variability between the palliative care physicians in the mean numbers of avoidable preventive medication (1.5–3.9 at T1 and 0.4–2.7 at T2, p = 0.06) prescribed.
Conclusion: More than half end-of-life patients living at home still receive avoidable medications. Drug prescription needs to be improved and palliative care setting could have an important role in reducing potentially inappropriate prescriptions. Emphasizing the positive aspects of stopping medicines, shared criteria with de-prescribing guidelines for potentially inappropriate medication in end-of-life patients and multidisciplinary discussion with involvement of patient and family caregivers could be useful to rationalize drug therapy.
Background/objectives: Opioids relieve symptoms in terminal care. We studied opioid underuse in long-term care facilities, defined as residents without opioid prescription despite pain and/or dyspnoea, 3 days prior to death.
Design and setting: In a proportionally stratified randomly selected sample of long-term care facilities in six European Union countries, nurses and long-term care facility management completed structured after-death questionnaires within 3 months of residents’ death.
Measurements: Nurses assessed pain/dyspnoea with Comfort Assessment in Dying with Dementia scale and checked opioid prescription by chart review. We estimated opioid underuse per country and per symptom and calculated associations of opioid underuse by multilevel, multivariable analysis.
Results: nurses’ response rate was 81.6%, 95.7% for managers. Of 901 deceased residents with pain/dyspnoea reported in the last week, 10.6% had dyspnoea, 34.4% had pain and 55.0% had both symptoms. Opioid underuse per country was 19.2% (95% confidence interval: 12.9–27.2) in the Netherlands, 25.2% (18.3–33.6) in Belgium, 29.3% (16.9–45.8) in England, 33.7% (26.2–42.2) in Finland, 64.6% (52.0–75.4) in Italy and 79.1% (71.2–85.3) in Poland (p < 0.001). Opioid underuse was 57.2% (33.0–78.4) for dyspnoea, 41.2% (95% confidence interval: 21.9–63.8) for pain and 37.4% (19.4–59.6) for both symptoms (p = 0.013). Odds of opioid underuse were lower (odds ratio: 0.33; 95% confidence interval: 0.20–0.54) when pain was assessed.
Conclusion: Opioid underuse differs between countries. Pain and dyspnoea should be formally assessed at the end-of-life and taken into account in physicians orders.
BACKGROUND: Nutrition is a basic patients' need and an important component of nursing. End-of-life cancer patients can experience difficulties in eating and drinking, sometimes requiring artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH). Nurses' knowledge and attitudes greatly influence nursing care. Nurses may lack knowledge of ANH. To date, no study has explored the knowledge and attitudes of oncology and palliative care nurses toward end-of-life ANH.
OBJECTIVE: To describe oncology and palliative care nurses' knowledge of and attitudes toward ANH.
METHODS: A multicenter cross-sectional study was conducted in 7 regions of Italy using the Italian version of the Questionnaire on Knowledge and Attitudes in Providing ANH for Terminal Cancer Patients. Attitudes were divided into benefits and burdens of providing ANH. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics.
RESULTS: High percentages of oncology and palliative care nurses showed reasonable knowledge about ANH. More disagreement was evidenced about benefits and burdens of ANH, and lower importance was given to them.
CONCLUSIONS: Some misconceptions and a low level of awareness exist among some nurses about ANH. More nursing studies should be conducted and extended to different care settings. Moreover, guidelines should be reinforced with a nursing perspective to better define nurses' role in the decision-making process on ANH.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: This exploration of nurses' knowledge of and attitudes toward ANH in end-of-life cancer patients can contribute to an understanding of how nurses can be involved in better meeting cancer patients' nutritional needs at the end of life.
Objectives: We aimed to investigate the occurrence rates of clinical events and their associations with comfort in dying nursing home residents with and without dementia.
Methods: Epidemiological after-death survey was performed in nationwide representative samples of 322 nursing homes in Belgium, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and England. Nursing staff reported clinical events and assessed comfort. The nursing staff or physician assessed the presence of dementia; severity was determined using two highly discriminatory staff-reported instruments.
Results: The sample comprised 401 residents with advanced dementia, 377 with other stages of dementia, and 419 without dementia (N = 1197). Across the three groups, pneumonia occurred in 24 to 27% of residents. Febrile episodes (unrelated to pneumonia) occurred in 39% of residents with advanced dementia, 34% in residents with other stages of dementia and 28% in residents without dementia (P = .03). Intake problems occurred in 74% of residents with advanced dementia, 55% in residents with other stages of dementia, and 48% in residents without dementia (P < .001). Overall, these three clinical events were inversely associated with comfort. Less comfort was observed in all resident groups who had pneumonia (advanced dementia, P = .04; other stages of dementia, P = .04; without dementia, P < .001). Among residents with intake problems, less comfort was observed only in those with other stages of dementia (P < .001) and without dementia (P = .003), while the presence and severity of dementia moderated this association (P = .03). Developing “other clinical events” was not associated with comfort.
Conclusions: Discomfort was observed in dying residents who developed major clinical events, especially pneumonia, which was not specific to advanced dementia. It is crucial to identify and address the clinical events potentially associated with discomfort in dying residents with and without dementia.
Palliative care practice is associated with risk factors linked to end-of-life, chronicity, personal, interpersonal, and work characteristics, as well as with protective factors, but how these are perceived by the health care providers themselves is not clear. This article aims to elaborate a theoretical framework explaining the risk and protective factors for palliative care providers in their daily practice. Nineteen providers (16 nurses, 3 physicians) working in a palliative care unit of a clinical-research institute in Northern Italy were interviewed. A Grounded Theory qualitative approach guided the data collection and analysis. From the interviews, 28 codes, subsequently organized into 11 interconnected categories, emerged. They described both stressors (emotion management regarding death/dying, conflicts, communication and relationship with patients/caregivers, discrepancies between patients' and caregivers' needs, communication of poor diagnosis/prognosis, decision making about treatment, and real-life and work interference) and protective factors (social support, positive approach and value of past experience, recognized value of/passion toward professional work, work-family balance). Experiencing these elements as positive or negative depends on the professionals' point of view, as well as their past and present experience.
Understanding what dealing with life-limiting illnesses means may suggest tailored interventions to improve professionals' well-being by fostering the protective elements and combatting the risk factors.
BACKGROUND: To compare quality of life (QoL) of patients receiving early palliative care (EPC) vs. standard oncologic care (SOC).
METHODS: Pragmatic, multicenter, randomized trial at five University and Community Hospital Cancer Centers in Northern Italy. Advanced non-small cell lung, gastric, pancreatic and biliary tract cancer patients diagnosed within the previous 8 weeks. In the EPC arm, visits were performed systematically by a dedicated physician/nurse palliative care (PC) team, who assessed physical and psychosocial symptoms, and enacted the necessary services. In the SOC arm, PC visits were only carried out if requested. The primary outcome was the difference in the change of QoL [Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General measure (FACT-G)] from baseline to 12 weeks in the two groups.
RESULTS: From November 2014 to March 2016, 281 patients were enrolled (142 EPC, 139 SOC); 218 completed FACT-G at 12 weeks. Baseline demographic and clinical characteristics were similar for the two groups. Values of FACT-G at baseline and 12 weeks were 72.3 (SD 12.6) and 70.1 (SD 15.5) for patients enrolled in the EPC arm, vs. 71.7 (SD 14.7) and 69.6 (SD 15.5) for the SOC arm, but the change scores did not differ significantly between groups. In the multivariable analysis, adjusting for QoL at baseline, two potential prospective prognostic factors were statistically significant: lung cancer (P=0.03) and interaction of living without a partner and intervention arm (P=0.01). Dying within 6 months (P<0.001) was also statistically significant.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, EPC did not improve QoL in advanced cancer patients, but our findings highlight aspects which may guide future research on EPC.
BACKGROUND: Hospice workers are required to regularly use emotional regulation strategies in an attempt to encourage and sustain terminally ill patients and families. Daily emotional regulation in reaction to constantly watching suffering patients may be intensified among those hospice professionals who have high levels of compassion fatigue. The main object of this study was to examine the relationship between daily exposition to seeing patient suffering and daily emotional work, and to assess whether compassion fatigue (secondary traumatic stress and burnout) buffers this relationship.
METHODS: We used a diary research design for collecting daily fluctuations in seeing patients suffering and emotional work display. Participants filled in a general survey and daily survey over a period of eight consecutive workdays. A total of 39 hospice professionals from two Italian hospices participated in the study.
RESULTS: Multilevel analyses demonstrated that daily fluctuations in seeing patients suffering was positively related to daily emotional work display after controlling for daily death of patients. Moreover, considering previous levels of compassion fatigue, a buffering effect of high burnout on seeing patients suffering - daily emotional work display relationship was found.
CONCLUSIONS: A central finding of our study is that fluctuations in daily witness of patients suffering are positively related to daily use of positive emotional regulations. Further, our results show that burnout buffers this relationship such that hospice professionals with high burnout use more emotional display in days where they recurrently witness patients suffering.
Background and aims: The prevalence of malnutrition is over 70% in advanced cancer patients and impacts negatively on survival and quality of life. Artificial nutrition can be integrated into a home palliative care program. This observational study aims to describe the criteria for identifying the cancer patients that could benefit from home artificial nutrition (HAN) and to evaluate its impact on survival and performance status.
Methods: The selection criteria for patient's eligibility to HAN were: Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) =40, life expectancy =6 weeks, inadequate caloric intake ± malnutrition, suitable psycho-physical conditions and informed consent. The access route for nutritional therapy (home parenteral nutrition, HPN; home enteral nutrition, HEN) was chosen according to the ESPEN Guidelines. The parameters considered were: primary site of the tumor; oral food intake; nutritional status; stage of cachexia; fluid, energy and protein supplied by HAN; survival.
Results: From 1990 to 2019, 43,474 cancer patients were assisted at home in Bologna (Italy). HAN started in 969 patients (2.2% of total patients, 571 men and 398 women, mean age 65.7 ± 12.7 years): HPN in 629 patients (64.9%), with gastrointestinal obstruction as the main indication; HEN in 340 patients (35.1%), with dysphagia as the main indication. Considering the 890 deceased patients, the mean survival after the start of HAN was 18.3 weeks and 649 patients (72.9%) survived more than 6 weeks. The mean survival was higher in HEN (22.1 weeks) compared to HPN patients (16.1 weeks) (p < .001). After one month, KPS was unchanged in 649 (67.0%), increased in 232 (23.9%) and decreased in 88 patients (9.1%). The mean KPS increased in patients starting HAN in pre-cachexia and cachexia (p < .001). Cachexia and refractory cachexia at the entry were associated with a reduced survival [odds ratio: 1.5 and 2.3 respectively, p < .001 for both condition] respect to pre-cachexia.
Conclusions: The selection criteria allow the identification of the patient who can take advantage of HAN. HAN can be effective in avoiding death from malnutrition in 73% of patients, and in maintaining or improving the KPS at one month in 90% of cases. The benefits provided by HAN on survival and performance status depend on the cachexia degree at the entry.
Background: Advanced cancer patients often die in hospital after receiving needless, aggressive treatment. Although palliative care improves symptom management, barriers to accessing palliative care services affect its utilisation, and such disparities challenge the equitable provision of palliative care. This study aimed to identify which factors are associated with inequitable palliative care service utilisation among advanced cancer patients by applying the Andersen Behavioural Model of Health Services Use.
Material and methods: This was a retrospective cohort study using administrative healthcare data. A total of 13,656 patients residing in the Lazio region of Italy, who died of an advanced cancer-related cause—either in hospital or in a specialised palliative care facility—during the period of 2012–2016 were included in the study. Potential predictors of specialised palliative service utilisation were explored by grouping the following factors: predisposing factors (i.e., individuals’ characteristics), enabling factors (i.e., systemic/structural factors) and need factors (i.e., type/severity of illness).
Results: The logistic hierarchical regression showed that older patients (odds ratio [OR] = 1.45; <0.0001) of Caucasian ethnicity (OR = 4.17; 0.02), with a solid tumour (OR = 1.87; <0.0001) and with a longer survival time (OR = 2.09; <0.0001) were more likely to be enrolled in a palliative care service. Patients who lived farther from a specialised palliative care facility (OR = 0.13; <0.0001) and in an urban area (OR = 0.58; <0.0001) were less likely to be enrolled.
Conclusion: This study found that socio-demographic (age, ethnicity), clinical (type of tumour, survival time) and organisational (area of residence, distance from service) factors affect the utilisation of specialised palliative care services. The fact that service utilisation is not only a function of patients’ needs but also of other aspects demonstrates the presence of inequity in access to palliative care among advanced cancer patients.