Family perspectives on agressive cancer care near end of life

Categories: Research.

“Among family members of older patients with fee-for service Medicare who died of lung or colorectal cancer, earlier hospice enrollment, avoidance of ICU admissions within 30 days of death, and death occurring outside the hospital were associated with perceptions of better end-of-life care. These findings are supportive of advance care planning consistent with the preferences of patients,” report the study authors.

The objective of this study out of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School in Boston was to assess the association of aggressive end-of-life care with bereaved family members’ perceptions of the quality of end-of-life care and patients’ goal attainment.

There are concerns that patients with late-stage cancer are receiving aggressive medical interventions near the end of life that results in poor quality of life. This valuable study offers insight based on families perceptions after the death of their loved one.

Researchers wrote:  “In this diverse population-based cohort, we found that 3 measures of aggressive end-of-life care (ICU admission within 30 days of death, no hospice care or ≤ 3 days of hospice services, and deaths occurring in the hospital) were associated with relatively large differences in family member-reported quality ratings for end-of-life care and a lower likelihood that patients with advanced-stage cancer received care congruent with their preferences.”

Visit the JAMA website to download the study, “Family Perspectives on Aggressive Cancer Care Near the End of Life.”