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Defining cancer patients as being in the terminal phase: who receives a formal diagnosis, and what are the effects?
J Clin Oncol. 2005 Oct 20; 23(30):7411-6.JC

Abstract

PURPOSE

Physicians either do not define cancer patients as being terminal, or their prognostic estimates tend to be optimistic. This might affect patients' appropriate and timely referral to specialist palliative care services or can lead to unintended acute hospitalization.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

We used the Danish Cancer Register and four administrative registers to perform a retrospective cohort study in 3,445 patients who died as a result of cancer. We used the Danish "terminal declaration" issued by a physician as a proxy for a formal terminal diagnosis (prognosis of death within 6 months). The terminal declaration gives right to economic benefits and increased care for the dying. We investigated patient-related factors of receiving an explicit terminal diagnosis by logistic regression and then analyzed the effects of such a diagnosis on admission rate per week and place of death.

RESULTS

Thirty-four percent of patients received a formal terminal diagnosis. Age of > or = 70 years (odds ratio [OR], 0.44; 95% CI, 0.34 to 0.56; P < .001), women (OR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.69 to 0.96; P = .02), hematologic cancer (OR, 0.20; 95% CI, 0.09 to 0.41; P < .001), and a less than 1-month survival time (OR, 0.10; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.15; P < .001) were associated with a lesser likelihood of receiving a formal terminal diagnosis. Explicit terminal diagnosis was associated with lower admission rate and an adjusted OR of hospital death of 0.25 (95% CI, 0.21 to 0.29).

CONCLUSION

Women and the elderly were less likely to receive a formal terminal diagnosis. The formal terminal diagnosis reduced hospital admissions and increased the possibilities of dying at home.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Research Unit of General Practice, J.B. Winsloevs Vej 9A, DK-5000 Odense C, Denmark. baabom@health.sdu.dkNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

16157932

Citation

Aabom, B, et al. "Defining Cancer Patients as Being in the Terminal Phase: Who Receives a Formal Diagnosis, and what Are the Effects?" Journal of Clinical Oncology : Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, vol. 23, no. 30, 2005, pp. 7411-6.
Aabom B, Kragstrup J, Vondeling H, et al. Defining cancer patients as being in the terminal phase: who receives a formal diagnosis, and what are the effects? J Clin Oncol. 2005;23(30):7411-6.
Aabom, B., Kragstrup, J., Vondeling, H., Bakketeig, L. S., & Stovring, H. (2005). Defining cancer patients as being in the terminal phase: who receives a formal diagnosis, and what are the effects? Journal of Clinical Oncology : Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 23(30), 7411-6.
Aabom B, et al. Defining Cancer Patients as Being in the Terminal Phase: Who Receives a Formal Diagnosis, and what Are the Effects. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Oct 20;23(30):7411-6. PubMed PMID: 16157932.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Defining cancer patients as being in the terminal phase: who receives a formal diagnosis, and what are the effects? AU - Aabom,B, AU - Kragstrup,J, AU - Vondeling,H, AU - Bakketeig,L S, AU - Stovring,H, Y1 - 2005/09/12/ PY - 2005/9/15/pubmed PY - 2005/12/13/medline PY - 2005/9/15/entrez SP - 7411 EP - 6 JF - Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology JO - J Clin Oncol VL - 23 IS - 30 N2 - PURPOSE: Physicians either do not define cancer patients as being terminal, or their prognostic estimates tend to be optimistic. This might affect patients' appropriate and timely referral to specialist palliative care services or can lead to unintended acute hospitalization. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We used the Danish Cancer Register and four administrative registers to perform a retrospective cohort study in 3,445 patients who died as a result of cancer. We used the Danish "terminal declaration" issued by a physician as a proxy for a formal terminal diagnosis (prognosis of death within 6 months). The terminal declaration gives right to economic benefits and increased care for the dying. We investigated patient-related factors of receiving an explicit terminal diagnosis by logistic regression and then analyzed the effects of such a diagnosis on admission rate per week and place of death. RESULTS: Thirty-four percent of patients received a formal terminal diagnosis. Age of > or = 70 years (odds ratio [OR], 0.44; 95% CI, 0.34 to 0.56; P < .001), women (OR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.69 to 0.96; P = .02), hematologic cancer (OR, 0.20; 95% CI, 0.09 to 0.41; P < .001), and a less than 1-month survival time (OR, 0.10; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.15; P < .001) were associated with a lesser likelihood of receiving a formal terminal diagnosis. Explicit terminal diagnosis was associated with lower admission rate and an adjusted OR of hospital death of 0.25 (95% CI, 0.21 to 0.29). CONCLUSION: Women and the elderly were less likely to receive a formal terminal diagnosis. The formal terminal diagnosis reduced hospital admissions and increased the possibilities of dying at home. SN - 0732-183X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/16157932/Defining_cancer_patients_as_being_in_the_terminal_phase:_who_receives_a_formal_diagnosis_and_what_are_the_effects L2 - https://ascopubs.org/doi/10.1200/JCO.2005.16.493?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&amp;rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&amp;rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -