NewsCAP: Early end-of-life talks improve care for patients with late-stage cancer
Early end-of-life talks improve care for patients with late-stage cancer. Patients with terminal cancer (or their surrogates) who participate in end-of-life discussions earlier in the course of their illness receive less aggressive care and increased hospice care in the last days of life. Researchers reviewed the end-of-life status of 1,231 patients with a diagnosis of end-stage lung or colorectal cancer. If discussions took place more than 30 days before death, patients received fewer aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy in the last two weeks before death or ICU care in the last 30 days of life. They were also twice as likely to use hospice care as patients whose discussions on end-of-life care occurred within 30 days of death. Initiating early discussions before patients deteriorate gives patients and families “time to plan for more difficult times in the future,” write the authors in the December 10, 2012, Journal of Clinical Oncology.© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.