One Size Does Not Fit All: Disease Profiles of Serious Illness Patients Receiving Specialty Palliative Care.
INTRODUCTION: Understanding the symptom profiles of seriously ill patients who receive palliative care, especially noncancer diagnoses where the data are sparse and are critical to better targeting our resources to the needs of patients. METHODS: We performed a retrospective, multicohort study of patients evaluated during their first consultative palliative care visit in a community-based palliative care registry. We placed into one of seven major disease categories based on clinician-reported primary diagnosis for consultation. Our primary aim of this analysis was to determine the univariate association between several patient-specific characteristics (e.g., demographics, care of setting, initial screening score) and the primary diagnosis. RESULTS: We evaluated the first visit consultation records of 1615 patients. Most prevalent diagnosis was Neurologic (564; 35%), followed by Cardiovascular (266; 16%), Pulmonary (229; 14%), and Cancer (208; 13%). Patients in the study with the highest symptom burden were those diagnosed with cancer or pulmonary disease, with 45% and 37% of cancer and pulmonary patients, respectively, having two or more moderate-to-severe symptoms; 26% of cardiovascular disease patients reported two or more moderate-to-severe symptoms, whereas 11% reported three or more. Patients with a neurologic or infectious diagnosis had less symptom burden, but a large percentage of neurologic patients were unable to respond. DISCUSSION: This study is one of the first to describe symptom burden and functional scores by diagnostic categories and care settings across a community-based interdisciplinary specialty palliative care program. Results demonstrated statistically significant and clinically relevant differences among settings of care, functional status, and symptom profiles between patients with various serious illnesses.
Kamal, AH; Taylor, DH; Neely, B; Harker, M; Bhullar, P; Morris, J; Bonsignore, L; Bull, J
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