A poster presentation scheduled for tomorrow at the 2015 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium in Boston will detail recommendations for a new service model pairing radiation oncology with palliative care. Since its 2013 implementation at Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, the approach has resulted in improved outcomes for patients, caregivers, and the health delivery system, according to a preliminary study of efficacy to be delivered by Mount Sinai researchers. The improvements include shorter duration of radiation treatments, fewer unfinished radiation treatments, and shorter hospital stays, with no diminution in reported pain relief.
The researchers examined charts of patients with advanced cancer who received palliative radiation therapy for painful bone metastases. The study included 175 patients treated before the new service started and 161 treated after the new service was established. The team concluded that judicious use of shorter and more efficient radiation treatments within the new service model led to patients spending fewer days hospitalized. This is important, according to the authors, because of the importance that most patients ascribe to being able to spend more time outside of the hospital, particularly as they near the end of life. The support from palliative care services allowed patients and families to manage symptoms at home.
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Read a news story about the study findings here.