Cancer Supportive Care Spotlight
This week in health care trends, our cancer supportive care spotlight includes: two studies looking at falls and symptom clusters in advanced cancer patients, and why one end-of-life approach is much more costly than others.
Frequency and Factors Associated with Falls in Patients with Advanced Cancer Presenting to an Outpatient Supportive Care Clinic
A recent study examining the frequency of and factors surrounding falls in advanced cancer patients found that “31 of 384 patients (8%) with advanced cancer receiving outpatient supportive care reported falls in the previous month. Patients with assistive devices, taking zolpidem, and with a higher MDAS score, and a positive delirium screening reported more frequent falls.”
Consistency of Symptom Clusters among Advanced Care Patients Seen at an Outpatient Supportive Care Clinic in a Tertiary Cancer Center
This study, which looked at the incidence of “physical and psychological symptom clusters” among advanced care patients, found that the types of symptoms reported “remain constant between baseline and near-term follow-up but that the severity of those symptoms lessened during that interval.”
A new study of end-of-life medical spending has found “four clear patterns of end-of-life spending” based on their analysis of Medicare patients. One researcher commented, “Our research points to having to do a better job taking care of people who have multiple chronic conditions in a way that maintains or improves the quality of care they receive, but with cost in mind.”
A study examining the impact of palliative care consultation programs on hospital costs found that “Hospital palliative care consultation teams are associated with significant hospital cost savings,” noting that “The palliative care patients who were discharged alive had an adjusted net savings of $1696 in direct costs per admission … including significant reductions in laboratory and intensive care unit costs compared with usual care patients. The palliative care patients who died had an adjusted net savings of $4908 in direct costs per admission … including significant reductions in pharmacy, laboratory, and intensive care unit costs compared with usual care patients.”
This article follows the story of a palliative care doctor whose neighbor asked for help navigating decisions about a dying relative. According to a recent national poll, “although 99% of the physicians feel end-of-life and advance care planning discussions are important, nearly half reported they do not know what to say and less than a third reported any prior training for these conversations.” This doctor argues that this needs to change.
The articles above are from our dedicated Cancer Supportive Care e-magazine. You can follow us on Flipboard or Twitter, or just watch for the links to this and our other magazines in our regular weekly BioBlog emails. (Don’t get our emails yet? Subscribe here!)