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Support Care Cancer. 2015 Jul;23(7):1951-68. doi: 10.1007/s00520-014-2543-2. Epub 2014 Dec 12.

MASCC/ESMO/EAPC survey of palliative programs.

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Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of Medicine Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA,



Palliative care program structure is important to integrating palliative services into cancer care. A first step in understanding the structure of palliative care programs is to survey existing programs.


This data was generated from members of MASCC, the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO), and the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC) who completed the surveys on the website. A survey questionnaire was developed using the survey tool developed by Dr. Hui and colleagues by permission which was modified for the purposes of this study. Findings were described in number and percentages. Inferential statistics involved the Fisher's exact test for factors with two levels, chi-Square test for unordered categorical factors with greater than two levels, Cochran-Armitage trend test for ordered categorical factors, and the Wilcoxon rank sum test for measured factors.


Sixty-two program leaders completed the survey. Most programs had been in existence greater than 5 years and were led by oncology trained physicians who had an additional specialty. Most programs had consultative services and outpatient clinics with fewer having inpatient beds and institutionally associated hospices. Most programs provided patient continuity. Patients were generally seen late in the course of illness with the average survival of 23 days when seen as inpatients and 40 days when seen as outpatients. Less than half had palliative care fellowship training programs. Most had research structures in place.


These findings differ from results reported in a previous survey which may reflect a European palliative care program structure. However, there were similarities which include a high inpatient palliative care unit mortality and short survival of patients seen as outpatients, indicating that referrals to palliative care occur late in the course of cancer.


This study not only differs in some respects to a previous survey of palliative care programs but also confirms the late referral of patients to palliative care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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