People with metastatic NSCLC have a poor prognosis, making the disease an ideal benchmark to measure the quality of end-of-life care, palliative care experts say.
The overview of care for over 6,000 patients with metastatic NSCLC in Victoria found that patients did not generally receive aggressive care — intensive care treatment or chemotherapy — in the last two weeks of life, but death in an acute bed (42%) and visits to the emergency care department were common.
According to the authors the most important finding was the low number of patients (10%) discharged from hospital following the diagnosis of metastatic disease who were referred to hospital palliative care services.
“This is a group of patients with poor prognostic disease, who are not being identified as requiring palliative care services,” they wrote in the MJA.
Metastatic NSCLC disease is associated with a poor prognosis, high symptom burden and high-quality evidence of benefits from palliative care trials, making it a reasonable benchmark of the quality of end-of-life care, or more broadly palliative care for people with eventually fatal cancer, they said.