Palliative care needs and utilisation of different specialist services in the last days of life for people with lung cancer
European Journal of Cancer Care
Objectives: To (a) compare palliative care needs of lung cancer patients on their final admission to community-based and inpatient palliative care services; and (b) explore whether and how these care needs affect their utilisation of different palliative care services in the last days of life. Methods: Descriptive study involving 17,816 lung cancer patients who received the last episode of palliative care from specialist services and died between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2018. Results: Both groups of patients admitted to community-based and inpatient palliative care services generally experienced relatively low levels of symptom distress, but high levels of functional impairment and dependency. “Unstable” versus “stable” palliative care phase (Odds ratio = 11.66; 95% Confidence Interval: 9.55–14.24), poorer functional outcomes and severe levels of distress from many symptoms predicted greater likelihood of use of inpatient versus community-based palliative care. Conclusions: Most inpatient palliative care admissions are not associated with high levels of symptom severity. To extend the period of home care and rate of home death for people with lung cancer, additional investment is required to improve their access to sufficiently skilled palliative care staff, multi-disciplinary teams and 24-hour home support in community settings.
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Department of Health, Australian Government