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Journal: Journal of palliative medicine


Prior research indicates that hospice and palliative care delivered in outpatient settings are associated with reduced hospital readmissions for cancer patients. However, little is known about how inpatient palliative care affects readmissions in oncology.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Hospital, Chemotherapy, Palliative care, Hospice, Cicely Saunders


Many palliative care patients are admitted to hospital shortly before death even though the acute hospital setting is not considered ideal for end-of-life care (EOLC).


Background: There is increasing interest in expanding palliative care (PC) services in the community-based outpatient oncology clinic. However, there is a paucity of data on the economics of integrating palliative medicine in this setting. Objective: Provide scheduling and financial data on PC physician encounters, charges, and reimbursement in a community-based oncology practice. Design: Retrospective review of billing data and scheduling software at a single practice. Setting: A community-based oncology practice comprised of 25 medical oncologists in 8 suburban offices. PC physicians were integrated into the practice. Measurement: Billed PC physician charges were analyzed on an annual basis for a four-year period from initial start-up of the PC clinic on September 2, 2014 to August 31, 2018. Results: During year 1, a single PC physician saw 483 new patients and 827 follow-up encounters in four different office locations. In year 2, he saw 471 new patients and 1229 follow-up encounters. Actual collected revenue for those 1700 encounters was $228,168. In year 3, a second PC physician was added and services were expanded to a total of six offices. In year 4, two PC physicians billed for 832 new encounters and 2450 follow-up encounters for a total collected revenue of $454,356. Conclusions: In a suburban community-based oncology practice, a PC physician can support a substantial part of his or her cost to an oncology practice.


Palliative care (PC) clinicians treat seriously ill patients who are at increased risk for compromised decision-making capacity (DMC). These patients face profound and complex questions about which treatments to accept and which to decline. PC clinicians, therefore, have the especially difficult task of performing thorough, fair, and accurate DMC assessments in the face of the complex effects of terminal illness, which may be complicated by fluctuating acute medical conditions, mental illness, or cognitive dysfunction. This study, written by a team of clinicians with expertise in PC, ethics, psychiatry, pediatrics, and geriatrics, aims to provide expert guidance to PC clinicians on best practice for complex DMC assessment.


Cervical cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer worldwide. Almost all are related to human papillomavirus exposure. Cervical cancer treatment is associated with significant morbidity that is likely to require support from palliative care teams. In these pearls on cervical cancer, we hope to inform providers about the common treatments and issues for cervical cancer patients. Treatment modalities include surgery for early-stage disease, radiation therapy for locally advanced disease, and pelvic exenteration, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy for recurrent disease. Cervical cancer causes pain and bleeding. Radiation can affect ovarian, urinary, and bowel function. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy are associated with fatigue and nausea. Fistulas between the vagina and bowel or bladder can occur due to cancer or to cancer treatments. Physical and emotional supportive care is important for women with cervical cancer.


Seriously ill older adults in the emergency department (ED) may benefit from palliative care referral, yet little is known about how to identify these patients.

Concepts: Cancer, Medical terms, Hospital, Palliative care, Illness, Hospice, Nursing specialties, Dublin


Abstract Background: End-of-life dreams and visions (ELDVs) have been well documented throughout history and across cultures. The impact of pre-death experiences on dying individuals and their loved ones can be profoundly meaningful. Objective: Our aim was to quantify the frequency of dreams/visions experienced by patients nearing the end of life, examine the content and subjective significance of the dreams/visions, and explore the relationship of these factors to time/proximity to death. Methods: This mixed-methods study surveyed patients in a hospice inpatient unit using a semi-structured interview. Sixty-six patients admitted to a hospice inpatient unit between January 2011 and July 2012 provided informed consent and participated in the study. The semi-structured interviews contained closed and open-ended questions regarding the content, frequency, and comfort/distress of dreams/visions. Results: Fifty-nine participants comprised the final sample. Most participants reported experiencing at least one dream/vision. Almost half of the dreams/visions occurred while asleep, and nearly all patients indicated that they felt real. The most common dreams/visions included deceased friends/relatives and living friends/relatives. Dreams/visions featuring the deceased (friends, relatives, and animals/pets) were significantly more comforting than those of the living, living and deceased combined, and other people and experiences. As participants approached death, comforting dreams/visions of the deceased became more prevalent. Conclusions: ELDVs are commonly experienced phenomena during the dying process, characterized by a consistent sense of realism and marked emotional significance. These dreams/visions may be a profound source of potential meaning and comfort for the dying, and therefore warrant clinical attention and further research.

Concepts: Disease, Death, Life, Informed consent, Sociology, Experience, Clinical death, Legal death


High-quality care for seriously ill patients aligns treatment with their goals and values. Failure to achieve “goal-concordant” care is a medical error that can harm patients and families. Because communication between clinicians and patients enables goal concordance and also affects the illness experience in its own right, healthcare systems should endeavor to measure communication and its outcomes as a quality assessment. Yet, little consensus exists on what should be measured and by which methods.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Health, Measurement, Illness, Psychometrics, Uncertainty, Systems of measurement


To ensure seriously ill people and their families receive high-quality primary and specialty palliative care services, rigorous methods are needed to prospectively identify this population.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Oncology, Palliative care


Reports about regulations and laws on Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) are becoming increasingly common in the media. Many groups have expressed opposition to euthanasia and PAS while those in favor argue that severely chronically ill and debilitated patients have a right to control the timing and manner of their death. Others argue that both PAS and euthanasia are ethically legitimate in rare and exceptional cases. Given that these discussions as well as the new and proposed laws and regulations may have a powerful impact on patients, caregivers, and health care providers, the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) has prepared this statement.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Medicine, Medical ethics, Death, Patient, Illness, Euthanasia