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Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2019 Nov;36(11):955-958. doi: 10.1177/1049909119852928. Epub 2019 May 27.

Attitudes of Hospice Providers Regarding Intrathecal Targeted Drug Delivery for Patients With Cancer.

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1 Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.
2 Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.
3 Division of Palliative Care, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.


Pain is one of the most commonly experienced and feared symptoms faced by patients with a serious illness. For these patients, intrathecal drug delivery systems (IDDSs) provide greater potency and/or few systemic side effects. However, despite these benefits, the integration and management of IDDS for patients receiving hospice care has not been previous studied. An electronic, 18-question survey was sent to 200 hospice practitioners (physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses) in the state of Minnesota to explore their experience, confidence, and the perceived barriers to caring for patients with IDDS while being cared for on hospice. Providers were identified though mailing lists from the Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care organization. The survey was administered by the Mayo Clinic Survey Research Center with institutional review board approval. Slightly more than 50% of respondents have ever cared for a patient with an intrathecal pump. If a patient had a pump in place, only 28% of providers expressed confidence in managing their pain. Additionally, only 3 of 10 respondents felt that adjusting an intrathecal pump should be the first option when a patient with an IDDS in place had increased pain. Indeed, the vast majority (over 80%) of respondents preferred the use of systemic therapies for primary pain management. Access to IDDS vendors for changes/refills in the home is identified as another barrier with over 50% of respondents either unaware of an available vendor or reporting no vendor available. There are numerous self-reported barriers to ongoing use of IDDS with patients receiving hospice care.


cancer pain; hospice pain; hospice survey; intrathecal drug delivery system; intrathecal targeted drug delivery; pain pump; palliative pain


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