Hemato-oncology and palliative care teams: is it time for an integrated approach to patient care?


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewIntegrated palliative care for those with advanced solid tumors yields significant benefits in patient and caregiver outcomes. However, most palliative care clinical trials have excluded patients with hematologic malignancies. There is growing interest in whether integrated palliative care may yield similar benefits in hematologic malignancy patients and caregivers, but there has been little direct evidence of benefit in this population. This review summarizes new data on palliative care issues in hematologic malignancies, published in the preceding 12 months.Recent findingsMost newly published evidence on this topic from the last year is descriptive of unmet needs, poor end-of-life care outcomes or unique differences and issues posed by hematologic malignancies as compared to solid tumors. A few articles describe models of collaborative care in hematologic malignancies, and just one describes the impact of an integrated palliative care intervention on patient and caregiver outcomes. Several studies point to transfusions as a unique and problematic barrier to high-quality end-of-life care in hematologic malignancies.SummaryRecent evidence confirms that hematologic malignancy patients have unique and often unmet palliative care needs, and also have worse end-of-life outcomes. More work is needed to develop and test integrated palliative care interventions in this population.

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