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First referral to an integrated onco- palliative care program: a retrospective analysis of its timing

Abstract : Background: Palliative care (PC) referral is recommended early in the course of advanced cancer. This study aims to describe, in an integrated onco-palliative care program (IOPC), patient's profile when first referred to this program, timing of this referral and its impact on the trajectory of care at end-of-life. Methods: The IOPC combined the weekly onco-palliative meeting (OPM) dedicated to patients with incurable cancer, and/or the clinical evaluation by the PC team. Oncologists can refer to the multidisciplinary board of the OPM the patients for whom goals and organization of care need to be discussed. We analyzed all patients first referred at OPM in 2011-2013. We defined the index of precocity (IP), as the ratio of the time from first referral to death by the time from diagnosis of incurability to death, ranging from 0 (late referral) to 1 (early referral). Results: Of the 416 patients included, 57% presented with lung, urothelial cancers, or sarcoma. At first referral to IOPC, 76% were receiving antitumoral treatment, 63% were outpatients, 56% had a performance status ≤2 and 46% had a serum albumin level > 35 g/l. The median [1st-3rd quartile] IP was 0.39 [0.16-0.72], ranging between 0.53 [0.20-0.79] (earliest referral, i.e. close to diagnosis of incurability, for lung cancer) to 0.16 [0.07-0.56] (latest referral, i.e. close to death relatively to length of metastatic disease, for prostate cancer). Among 367 decedents, 42 (13%) received antitumoral treatment within 14 days before death, and 157 (43%) died in PC units. Conclusions: The IOPC is an effective organization to enable early integration of PC and decrease aggressiveness of care near the end-of life. The IP is a useful tool to model the timing of referral to IOPC, while taking into account each cancer types and therapeutic advances.
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Contributeur : Isabelle Colombet <>
Soumis le : jeudi 30 avril 2020 - 18:15:13
Dernière modification le : samedi 9 mai 2020 - 01:29:21


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Claire Barth, Isabelle Colombet, Vincent Montheil, Olivier Huillard, Pascaline Boudou-Rouquette, et al.. First referral to an integrated onco- palliative care program: a retrospective analysis of its timing. BMC Palliative Care, BioMed Central, 2020, 19 (1), ⟨10.1186/s12904-020-0539-x⟩. ⟨hal-02559873⟩



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