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End of life in haematology: quality of life predictors – retrospective cohort study


Objectives Haematology patients are more likely to receive high intensity care near end of life (EOL) than patients with solid malignancy. Previous authors have suggested indicators of quality EOL for haematology patients, based on a solid oncology model. We conducted a retrospective chart review with the objectives of (1) determining our performance on these quality EOL indicators, (2) describing the timing of level of intervention (LOI) discussion and palliative care (PC) consultation prior to death and (3) evaluating whether goals of therapy (GOT), PC consultation and earlier LOI discussion are predictors of quality EOL.

Methods We identified patients who died from haematological malignancies between April 2014 and March 2016 (n=319) at four participating McGill University hospitals and performed retrospective chart reviews.

Results We found that 17% of patients were administered chemotherapy less than 14 days prior to death, 20% of patients were admitted to intensive care, 14% were intubated and 5% were resuscitated less than 30 days prior to death, 18% of patients received blood transfusion less than 7 days prior to death and 67% of patients died in an acute care setting. LOI discussion and PC consultation occurred a median of 22 days (IQR 7–103) and 9 days (IQR 3–19) before death. Patients with non-curative GOT, PC consultation or discussed LOI were significantly less likely to have high intensity EOL outcomes.

Conclusions In this study, we demonstrate that LOI discussions, PC consults and physician established GOT are associated with quality EOL outcomes for patients with haematological malignancies.

  • Quality of life
  • End of life care
  • Haematological disease

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