Use of Palliative Care, Oxygen Therapy Increasing for COPD Patients

To study trends in palliative care usage among COPD patience, the annual proportions of individuals who received formal palliative care, long-term oxygen therapy, or opioids at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto from 2004 to 2014 were ascertained. The results show an increase in palliative care usage.

A total of 151,912 individuals with advanced COPD were identified in Ontario between 2004 and 2014. The researchers found that there was a 1 percent increase per year in the use of formal , from 5.3 percent in 2004 to 14.3 percent in 2014 (P for trend < 0.001); use of long-term oxygen therapy increased 1.1 percent per year, from 26.4 percent in 2004 to 35.3 percent in 2013 (P for trend < 0.001). Opioid use remained stable (40 percent in 2004 and 41.8 percent in 2014; P for  = 0.08). The likelihood of using formal palliative care services and long-term oxygen therapy was lower among younger individuals.

“Efforts should focus on increasing access to such strategies as well as educating patients and providers of their benefits,” the authors write.

Click here for an abstract as well as access to the full study.

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