Bennet, M.L. et al. (2016) BMJ Open. 6:e012576
Objective For patients with advanced cancer, several randomised controlled trials have shown that access to palliative care at least 6 months before death can improve symptoms, reduce unplanned hospital admissions, minimise aggressive cancer treatments and enable patients to make choices about their end-of-life care, including exercising the choice to die at home. This study determines in a UK population the duration of palliative care before death and explores influencing factors.
Conclusions The current timing of referral to palliative care may limit the benefits to patients in terms of improvements in end-of-life care, particularly for older patients and patients with conditions other than cancer.
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