Early Palliative Care Benefits Children with Cancer

According to a recent survey funded by the American Lebanese Associated Charities, pediatric oncology patients with high degrees of symptom-related suffering appeared more likely than their parents to acknowledge the benefits of early palliative care, according to survey results.

The aim of the study was to establish whether patients have unmet needs at the initiation of cancer therapy, and whether patient and family attitudes are indeed a barrier to early palliative care involvement.

“In what has been coined the ‘they are not ready syndrome,’ lack of patient and family receptivity to early palliative care integration is often cited as a barrier to care provision,” Deena R. Levine, MD, assistant member in the department of oncology and division of quality of life and palliative care at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Researchers surveyed 129 patient–parent pairs from three participating sites from September 2011 to January 2015. Degree of perceived suffering from early symptom-related causes, attitudes toward early palliative care integration, and patient–parent concordance served as primary endpoints. Click here to read the full results and reactions from experts.

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