Factors associated with palliative care referral among patients with advanced cancers: a retrospective analysis of a large Brazilian cohort
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The purpose of the study is to estimate the proportion of patients who had access to palliative care (PC) and to identify the timing and factors associated with this access.
A retrospective longitudinal study that included patients who died of advanced cancer between the years of 2010 and 2014 was conducted. The proportion of patients who received PC consultations was compared during those years. Sociodemographic and clinical factors, the timing between first PC consultation and death (early, ≥ 3 months; late, < 3 months), and first PC consultation were assessed.
Of the 1284 studied patients, 988 (76.9%) were referred to PC and 839 (65.3%) had a PC consultation. The proportion of patients who received late PC consultation increased between the years 2010 and 2014 (44.2 vs. 60.4%, p = 0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed that younger age (odds ratio (OR) = 0.98, p = 0.016) and gynecologic cancer (OR = 2.17, p = 0.011) were associated with a PC consultation. Upper gastrointestinal tract (GIT) cancer (OR = 2.42, p = 0.001) and hematologic malignancies (OR = 0.37, p = 0.001) were associated with late PC consultations. The median time interval between the first PC consultation and death was 2.66 months: timing differed significantly among cancer subtypes (p = 0.002).
Most patients received PC consultation before death, and the number of patients with late consultation increased throughout the study. Patients with late referrals could have received PC earlier. The current findings suggest the need to standardize the referral criteria to optimize access to PC.
KeywordsPalliative care Advanced cancer Referral and consultation Health services Quality of health care
This project was supported by Barretos Cancer Hospital internal research funds (PAIP).
Conceived and designed the experiments: CEP, BSRP, and TCOV. Performed the experiments: TCOV, BSRP, and CEP. Analyzed the data: MAO and CEP. Wrote the paper: TCOV, BSRP, and CEP.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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