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Oncology (Williston Park). 1990 Jul;4(7):85-91; discussion 94, 96.

A comparison of hospice vs conventional care of the terminally ill cancer patient.

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  • 1Brown University, Providence, RI 02906.


Hospice is an alternative system of end-stage oncological care emphasizing palliative care, the patient and family as the unit of care, and the administration of care by an interdisciplinary team. Since its inception in the US in the early 1970s, hospice has evolved from a grass-roots social movement to a legitimate component of the health-care system, primarily serving a white, "young-old" cancer patient population under a variety of organizational arrangements. Data from the National Hospice Study compares medical and social service receipt by patients served in hospice and non-hospice settings during their last two weeks of life. Results indicate that patients served by conventional oncological care were more likely to receive diagnostic tests, chemotherapy, radiation therapy (for non-palliative purposes), surgery, and respiratory therapy than hospice patients. Social service interventions were more likely to be reported by hospice than non-hospice patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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