Palliative Care Positively Affects Symptom Burden, QOL

Palliative Care Positively Affects Symptom Burden, QOL

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Palliative care interventions are associated with improvements in patient quality of life and symptom burden, but do not affect survival, according to a review published in the Nov. 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dio Kavalieratos, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, analyzed data from 43 clinical trials involving 12,731 adults with a serious illness and 2,479 of their family caregivers.

The researchers found that palliative care did provide clinically significant improvements in patients’ quality-of-life burden at one-month and three-month follow-ups, based on evidence drawn from 15 applicable trials. The findings also showed that palliative care could reduce a patient’s symptom burden at one and three months, but the evidence for this was weaker due to risk of bias in the studies. Palliative care was also associated with better advance care planning, patient and caregiver satisfaction with care, and lower utilization of health care resources.

There was mixed evidence regarding various other measures — whether a patient died at home or in a hospital, how the care affected the mood of patients or caregivers, and whether it reduced overall health care expenditures. In addition, the pooled evidence did not support better quality of life or symptom management for patients at four to six months of follow-up. The team found no association between palliative care and survival (hazard ratio, 0.90; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.69 to 1.17).

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