Cancer Patients May Fare Better at Home
Making sure cancer patients receive the highest quality of care is a concern for clinicians and family members alike. This is especially so when end-of-life concerns become a very strong reality in terminal cases. While long believed that palliative care was best provided at medical institutions where the quality of interventions could be high, research is showing home-care may offer its end-stage benefits.
A recent study looked at survival rates of end-stage patients cared for at home versus those receiving care in medical settings. It was found patients who ultimately died at home, in their own surroundings, had statistically significant longer survival rates than those who did not. Staying at home, it turned out, helped patients live longer.
The study in question looked at more than 2,000 cancer patients receiving palliative care between 2012 and 2014. Most of the patients received care in a hospital, but nearly 500 were cared for at home. Researchers found those who died in the hospital tended to do so much sooner than those who received care at home.
It’s also important to note that other studies have also pointed to benefits of at-home palliative care. Research has shown being at home positively impacts the quality of a patient’s end of life experience. Some 50 percent of cancer patients have reported they would rather be cared for an die at home than in an institution.
Despite studies showing the benefits of at-home care, researchers have found that many patients across the globe do not get to enjoy this experience. The reasons include a lack of caregivers and/or resources and concerns related to potential quality of care.
Addressing end of life issues related to cancer is a highly personal pursuit. Patients are urged to discuss their wishes with their healthcare providers and their family. When desired and feasible, at-home care may help improve the quality of the end of life experience while also possibly extending life a little longer.