Early Access to Palliative Care Improves Quality of Life of Terminal Cancer Patients

Early Access to Palliative Care Improves Quality of Life of Terminal Cancer Patients
Early access to palliative care significantly enhances the quality of life of advanced cancer patients in their final stages, British researchers reported. Palliative care focuses on the whole person, not just their disease, providing relief from pain and the other symptoms and stress of a serious illness. Longer palliative care at home is associated with fewer hospital admissions and hospital deaths. Also, patients had easier access to opioids for pain relief and were less likely to receive aggressive anti-cancer therapies close to death. These findings strengthen the importance of palliative care and may assist policymakers when developing palliative care service delivery, researchers said. "Our research shows that for those with advanced cancer, access to palliative care and longer duration of care are significantly associated with better end of life quality indicators. Our study provides new evidence to support the early integration of palliative care for cancer patients," Dr. Lucy Ziegler, study lead author and Yorkshire Cancer Research Academic Fellow, said in a press release. The study, “Is palliative care support associated with better quality end-of-life care indicators for patients with advanced cancer? A retrospective cohort study,” was published in BMJ Open.  "Previous studies have shown that palliative care intervention is associated with an increased proportion of deaths at home and a reduction in emergency admissions. However, no study has investigated when and for how long patients need access to this care in order to receive quality of life benefits,” Ziegler said. Researchers evaluated how the timing of access to palliative care affected the quality of life of patients with advanced cancer before their death. They analysed a l
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