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Quality of end-of-life care for people with advanced non-small cell lung cancer in Ontario: a population-based study

Goldie CL, Nguyen P, Robinson AG, Goldie CE, Kircher CE, Hanna TP. Curr Oncol. 2021; 28(5):3297-315. Epub 2021 Aug 26. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol28050286


Ensuring high quality end of life (EOL) care is necessary for people with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), given its high incidence, mortality and symptom burden. Aggressive EOL care can adversely affect the quality of life of NSCLC patients without providing meaningful oncologic benefit. Objectives: (1) To describe EOL health services quality indicators and timing of palliative care consultation provided to patients dying of NSCLC. (2) To examine associations between aggressive and supportive care and patient, disease and treatment characteristics. Methods: This retrospective population-based cohort study describes those who died of NSCLC in Ontario, Canada from 2009–2017. Socio-demographic, patient, disease and treatment characteristics as well as EOL health service quality and use of palliative care consultation were investigated. Multivariable logistic regression models examined factors associated with receiving aggressive or supportive care. Results: Aggressive care quality indicators were present in 50.3% and supportive care indicators in 60.3% of the cohort (N = 37,203). Aggressive care indicators decreased between 2009 and 2017 (57.4% to 45.3%) and increased for supportive care (54.2% to 67.5%). Benchmarks were not met by 2017 in 3 of 4 cases. Male sex and greater comorbidity were associated with more aggressive EOL care and less supportive care. Older age was negatively associated and rurality positively associated with aggressive care. No palliative care consultation occurred in 56.0%. Conclusions: While improvements in the use of supportive rather than aggressive care were noted, established Canadian benchmarks were not met. Moreover, there is variation in EOL quality between groups and use of earlier palliative care must improve.

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