Characteristics of Advance Care Planning in Patients With Cancer Referred to Palliative Care.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: Advance care planning (ACP) is a process in which patients share their values, goals, and preferences regarding future medical care. ACP can improve care quality, yet may be challenging to address for patients with cancer. We sought to characterize key components of ACP in patients with cancer as compared with patients with noncancer serious illness referred to palliative care (PC). METHODS: We performed a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of initial outpatient PC visits from the Quality Data Collection Tool for PC database from 2015 to 2019. Quality Data Collection Tool is a web-based point-of-care specialty PC registry to track quality metrics. RESULTS: We analyzed 1,604 patients with cancer and 1,094 patients without cancer: 44% of patients were female, 87% were White, and 98% were non-Hispanic. The average age was 72.2 years (standard deviation [SD] 15.4). Patients with cancer were on average younger than patients without cancer (66.5 [SD: 13.9] v 80.5 [SD: 13.8]) and had a higher Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) (59.5 [SD: 22.4] v 33.4 [SD: 25.1]). In our unadjusted comparison, patients with cancer were less likely to be DNR/DNI (37% v 53%; P < .0001) and less likely to have an advance directive (53% v 73%; < .0001); rates of healthcare proxy identification were similar (92.8% v 94.5%; P = .10). These differences did not persist when we accounted for age, race, sex, and PPS, with age being the primary explanatory factor. CONCLUSION: Despite having serious illness meriting PC referral, many patients with cancer in our study lacked advance directives. This highlights both the important role of oncologists in facilitating ACP and the utility of PC playing a complementary role.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Berkowitz, CM; Wolf, SP; Troy, J; Kamal, AH

Published Date

  • February 2021

Published In

  • Jco Oncol Pract

Volume / Issue

  • 17 / 2

Start / End Page

  • e94 - e100

PubMed ID

  • 33439744

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2688-1535

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1200/OP.20.00657


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States