Impact of an Oncology Palliative Care Clinic on Access to Home Care Services

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Abstract

Home care (HC) is important for patients with cancer as performance status declines. Our study of 1224 patients at a Canadian cancer center examined the impact of an oncology palliative care clinic (OPCC) on HC referral. The HC referral frequency was calculated before and after the first OPCC consultation, in total and according to performance status (Palliative Performance Scale, PPS). Characteristics associated with HC referral were investigated. After the first OPCC consultation, there was an increase in HC referral from 39% (477 of 1224; 49% of those with PPS ≤60) to 69% (841 of 1224; 88% of those with PPS ≤60). Factors independently associated with HC referral were poor PPS (P < .001) and older age (P = .003). Thus OPCC involvement resulted in markedly increased HC referrals, particularly for older patients with poor performance status.

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