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Respir Med. 2013 Nov;107(11):1731-9. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2013.06.003. Epub 2013 Jun 27.

Referral to palliative care in COPD and other chronic diseases: a population-based study.

Author information

1
End-of-Life Care Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Ghent University, Laarbeeklaan 103, 1090 Jette, Belgium. Electronic address: kim.beernaert@vub.ac.be.

Abstract

AIM:

To describe how patients with COPD, heart failure, dementia and cancer differ in frequency and timing of referral to palliative care services.

METHODS:

We performed a population-based study with the Sentinel Network of General Practitioners in Belgium. Of 2405 registered deaths respectively 5%, 4% and 28% were identified as from COPD, heart failure or cancer and 14% were diagnosed with severe dementia. GPs reported use and timing of palliative care services and treatment goals in the final three months of life.

RESULTS:

Patients with COPD (20%) were less likely than those with heart failure (34%), severe dementia (37%) or cancer (60%) to be referred to palliative care services (p < 0.001). The median days between referral and death was respectively 10, 12, 14 and 20. Patients with COPD who were not referred more often received treatment with a curative or life-prolonging goal and less often with a palliative or comfort goal than did the other patients who were not referred.

CONCLUSION:

Patients with COPD are underserved in terms of palliative care compared to those with other chronic life-limiting diseases. Awareness of palliative care as an option for patients with COPD needs to increase in palliative care services, physicians and the general public.

KEYWORDS:

COPD; Dementia; Heart failure; Neoplasms; Palliative care; Referral

PMID:
23810150
DOI:
10.1016/j.rmed.2013.06.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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