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Hospice Utilization And End-of-life Care In Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients At A Comprehensive Cancer Center.

T. O'Connor, N. Ngamphaiboon, A. Groman, Debra L. Luczkiewicz, Sarah M Kuszczak, Pei C Grant, Christopher W. Kerr
Published 2015 · Medicine

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BACKGROUND Metastatic breast cancer patients have many options for therapy and may be at risk for late or absent hospice referrals, which make meaningful improvements in symptoms and quality of life difficult to achieve. OBJECTIVE We aimed to examine hospice utilization, status of patients on admission, and quality of care of patients treated for metastatic breast cancer from 1999 to 2010 at a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center located in Western New York. METHODS We conducted a retrospective database review that identified 182 patients with deaths resulting from breast cancer who were eligible for services through a local not-for-profit hospice. Patients with metastatic breast cancer were matched to the hospice database for information on hospice utilization and quality measures. Date of last chemotherapy, medication use, documentation of advance directive and palliative care discussions, and place of death were collected through chart abstraction. RESULTS One-third (33%) of metastatic breast cancer patients treated at the cancer institute during the study period died without a hospice referral. Only 7% of patients who died without a hospice referral had a documented discussion of palliative care as an option by the oncology team (p < 0.001). Those patients referred to hospice were significantly more likely to have an advance directive and to die at home. Patients with a longer duration of metastatic cancer were at risk for late referral. CONCLUSIONS Efforts to enhance end-of-life (EOL) discussions and earlier referral to palliative care and hospice for patients with metastatic breast cancer are critical to improved patient care.
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