Early Palliative Care for Patients with Hematologic Malignancies: Is It Really so Difficult to Achieve?
Evidence points to many benefits of "early palliative care," the provision of specialist palliative care services upstream from the end of life, to improve patients' quality of life while living with a serious illness. Yet most trials of early palliative care have not included patients with hematologic malignancies. Unfortunately, patients with hematologic malignancies are also known to have substantial illness burden, poor quality of life, and aggressive care at the end of life, including a greater likelihood of dying in the hospital, receiving chemotherapy at the end of life, and low hospice utilization, compared to patients with solid tumors. Given these unmet needs, one must wonder, why is palliative care so underutilized in this population? In this article, we discuss barriers to palliative care integration in hematology, highlight several reports of successful integration, and suggest specific indications for involving palliative care in the management of hematologic malignancy patients.
LeBlanc, TW; Roeland, EJ; El-Jawahri, A
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