Illness is Personal!

Engaging The Patient

Guest Contributor: Ira Byock, MD

For clinicians and health service researchers striving to improve care for people living with life-threatening conditions, September was a sobering month. The Dartmouth Atlas group released a Brief report on Trends in Cancer Care Near the End of Life showing that while the proportion of patients with cancer who die in hospitals has slightly decreased, patients were likely to receive life-sustaining treatments, such as intubation, a feeding tube, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or spend time in an ICU in the final month of life, or to undergo chemotherapy during the last two weeks of life in 2010 as in 2003-2007. And while hospice use is up, many cancer patients are receiving hospice care for only at the brink of death, for the last 3 to 7 days of life. Two weeks later, the Institute of Medicine published a 360 page report on Delivering High Quality Cancer…

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