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Mount Sinai Oncologists Improve Quality of Care for Cancer Patients with Standardized Criteria for Palliative Care Consultation
Date:10/29/2013

New York, NY (PRWEB) October 29, 2013

A pilot initiative conducted at Mount Sinai Hospital offers compelling evidence that establishing standardized criteria for calling a palliative care consultation improves the quality of care for patients hospitalized with advanced cancer. The investigators saw improvements in the use of hospice services, inpatient mortality, and hospital readmissions among patients offered the intervention.

Palliative care is the medical specialty that focuses on improving quality of life for patients and their families in the setting of a serious illness.  Palliative care teams provide an added layer of support to patients, caregivers, and doctors by addressing unremitting symptoms, helping with decision making, and coordinating care.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) selected a total of four high-impact abstracts, including this one, to feature in an official press briefing for its upcoming 2013 Quality Care Symposium. More than 270 abstracts will be presented at the conference, which will be held in San Diego on November 1-2.

In 2012, ASCO recommended offering palliative care alongside standard oncologic care to all patients with metastatic cancer and uncontrolled symptoms. The recommendation was based on findings from seven randomized clinical studies, which showed that integrating palliative care into oncology services led to improvements in symptoms, quality of life, and patient satisfaction, and reduced caregiver burden. Involving palliative care also led to more appropriate use of hospice and intensive care.

According to Kerin Adelson, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and lead investigator on the initiative, palliative care services are often underutilized for cancer patients, even at hospitals such as Mount Sinai that have well-established palliative ca
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