Palliative Care Physicians' Views Toward Hematology and the Care of Patients with Hematologic Diseases: Results of a Nationwide Survey
Background: Palliative care specialists provide supportive care for patients with hematologic diseases. However, the degree of engagement by palliative care physicians may be limited by the views of both palliative care physicians and hematologists. Prior studies have surveyed hematologists to identify barriers to delivery of palliative care, however palliative care physician views are unclear. This study aimed to examine views of palliative care physicians toward hematology.
Methods: A survey was mailed to a random sample of the AAHPM physician contact list in 2017. Items focused on perceptions of their understanding of hematologic diseases, comfort providing care, opinions regarding palliative care and hospice involvement, and beliefs about hematologists. Anonymized responses were assessed on a Likert scale. Statistical testing was based on logistic regression models with generalized estimating equations to account for correlated data within respondents.
Results: 538 of 1000 surveys were completed. 51.9% of respondents were male. Community (37.2%), academic (36.7%) and hospice (26.2%) physicians were represented. Respondents were likelier to believe they understand the trajectories of lymphoma and myeloma than leukemia or patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) (p < 0.001). They were more comfortable discussing prognosis (p =< 0.001) and managing symptoms (p < 0.001) in lymphoma and myeloma than leukemia and HSCT. They were likelier to believe that hematologists' perceptions of palliative care physicians limit collaboration rather than their own views of hematologists (p < 0.001). 80.2% agreed that hospice referrals are not made early enough.
Conclusions: Palliative care physicians' understanding of trajectories and comfort caring for patients varies by hematologic disease. They perceive that hematologists' perceptions are a larger barrier than their own and hospice referrals are delayed. These results provide insights into opportunities for better collaboration with hematologists.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Santivasi, WL; Wu, KM; Litzow, MR; LeBlanc, TW; Strand, JJ
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