01 Aug Patients With Blood Cancers May Need More Support At End Of Life
Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Prof. Currow: This study grew out of a desire to better understand the symptom burden experienced by people with hematological malignancies at the end of life. This has been very poorly documented and although there are lots of strong opinions, there are very few data at a population level.
Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Prof. Currow: The main finding is that community-dwelling people with hematological malignancies at the end of life have a burden of symptoms that looked almost identical to people with solid tumours. Given much lower rates of access to the hospice and palliative care, this suggests that these people and their family caregivers are missing out on opportunities for better symptom control and better support.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Prof. Currow: Patients, family caregivers and their clinicians need to think carefully about the support that is needed for someone nearing the end of life: physical, social, emotional, existential and financial supports are all necessary if we are to provide the sort of care that optimises that person’s function and comfort, and optimises the longer term outcomes for surviving family.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Prof. Currow: This research opens up the opportunity to interrogate a number of other datasets now that would record these data and, most importantly, take forward a prospective study of symptoms at a population level for people with hematological malignancies facing the end of life.
Symptom burden of haematological malignancies as death approaches in a community palliative care service: a retrospective cohort study of a consecutive case series
Thomas W LeBlanc, MD Joanna M Smith, BPsych Prof David C Currow, PhD
The Lancet Published Online: 27 July 2015
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Prof David C Currow (2015). Patients With Blood Cancers May Need More Support At End Of Life