Recent research shows the advantages of palliative care for individuals who have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition. The research confirms what palliative care providers have long known – that this important service improves quality of life and can even extend life with the best prognosis being seen when patients begin care early.

Palliative Care Research

Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Portland Health Care System and Oregon Health and Science University recently examined data from more than 23,000 patients with advanced lung disease, 57% of whom received palliative care. When palliative care was initiated 31 to 365 days after diagnosis, survival rates increased. By comparison, palliative care initiated more than 365 days after diagnosis showed no association with an increase in survival rates. Those who did not receive palliative care at all were also less likely to survive. Receipt of palliative care was also associated with a reduced risk of death in a hospital or other acute care setting. Patients who did not survive were more likely to pass away at home, surrounded by family and in a more comfortable and familiar environment.

The Benefits of Palliative Care At Home

The greatest impact was found in palliative care delivered at home, in an outpatient setting. This option provides patients with an option for pain relief and symptom management and reduces their need to constantly return to the hospital or move to an in-patient setting. Care is provided by a specially trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who develop a customized care plan that improves quality of life, empowers the individual to remain safe and comfortable at home and can even increase the tolerance for or effectiveness of curative treatments.

More Clinicians Recommending Palliative Care

Research like this can help patients to better understand the value of palliative care, and it can also provide clinicians with the data they need to feel confident in recommending palliative care at home to their patients even as soon as immediately after diagnosis. Increased referrals to palliative care providers will benefit patients in so many ways and can help more to survive lung cancer and other disease that are so often viewed as incurable.

When it comes to palliative care, timing does matter. The research backs up this claim. If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with a serious medical condition, Salus is here to help. Contact us to discuss palliative care services, and let’s work together to create a plan of care that perfectly compliments curative treatments and improves quality of life.