End-of-life care pathway of head and neck cancer patients : single-institution experience

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Heinonen , T , Loimu , V , Saarilahti , K , Saarto , T & Mäkitie , A 2018 , ' End-of-life care pathway of head and neck cancer patients : single-institution experience ' , European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology , vol. 275 , no. 2 , pp. 545-551 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s00405-017-4843-x

Title: End-of-life care pathway of head and neck cancer patients : single-institution experience
Author: Heinonen, T.; Loimu, V.; Saarilahti, K.; Saarto, T.; Mäkitie, A.
Contributor organization: Department of Oncology
University of Helsinki
Korva-, nenä- ja kurkkutautien klinikka
HUS Head and Neck Center
HUS Comprehensive Cancer Center
Date: 2018-02
Language: eng
Number of pages: 7
Belongs to series: European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
ISSN: 0937-4477
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00405-017-4843-x
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/300069
Abstract: Studies on palliative care of head and neck cancer (HNC) patients are scarce although the affected patient population is quite large. To evaluate the role of a specialised palliative-care pathway of HNC patients. Data on all HNC patients who were treated at the Helsinki University Hospital Palliative Care Center during 1 year were retrospectively reviewed. The analysis comprised 60 patients (49 males; mean age 67 years; range 28-88). All patients had a minimum follow-up of 1 year or until death. Fifty-nine (98%) out of the 60 patients died during the follow-up period. Median survival after diagnosis was 11 months (range 3 weeks-11.9 years) and after withholding disease-specific therapies 3 months (range 0-16). Thirty-three (55%) patients received palliative radiotherapy, 27 (45%) had PEG tube and 17 (28%) tracheostomy. Thirty-seven (66%) patients visited an emergency department (ED) (median 1.3 visits; range 0-6) and 21 (35%) were hospitalised at the university hospital during the palliative period. The most common severe complications were infection (also the most common reason for ED visits and hospitalisation), bleeding (four massive airway bleedings with one death), delirium and airway obstruction (one emergency tracheostomy). Twelve (35%) out of the 34 patients who were referred to specialised home care died at home as compared with three (12%) out of the 26 patients not supported by a specialised home-care team. Severe complications leading to an emergency unit visit and hospitalisation are common among HNC patients in their relatively short palliative period reflecting the need for early-integrated palliative care. Collaboration with a specialised palliative home-care team seems to increase end-of-life care at home.
Subject: Head and neck cancer
Palliative care
Terminal care
3122 Cancers
3125 Otorhinolaryngology, ophthalmology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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