Start discussions on end-of-life care earlier, study suggests

May 15, 2019

Dr. Kwadwo KyeremantengA study led by Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng found that many patients with terminal cancer who visited the Emergency Department in 2012 within two weeks of dying in hospital did not have an advanced care plan. The plan allows patients and their families to discuss and record their wishes for end of life care. Of the 130 patient files the researchers reviewed, 71 percent did not have an advanced care directive, and only 18 percent had a palliative care provider. This suggests that palliative care needs to be discussed and put into practice earlier in this patient population. Compared to hospices, hospitals are not as well equipped to closely monitor palliative patients and ensure good symptom control. It also costs 2.5 times less to provide this care in a hospice. The researchers hope that highlighting this gap in optimal care for patients with terminal cancer will improve future practice.

“We’re passionate about providing exceptional care at all stages of life. Timely discussions about end of life care help us achieve this, said Dr. Kyeremanteng, acritical care and palliative care physician and associate scientist at Rhe Ottawa Hospital. He is also a senior clinician investigator at the Institut du-savoir Montfort and an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa.

Source: American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine

Authors: Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, Abid Ismail, Cynthia Wan, Kednapa Thavorn, Gianni D’Egidio,

Funders: This study had no dedicated funding. All research at The Ottawa Hospital is supported by generous donations to the hospital.

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