Cancer patients who decide to die at home tend to live longer, finds a recent study conducted in Japan. It suggests that oncologists should not hesitate to refer patients for home-based palliative care.
Most dying people prefer to be looked after at their home but doubt the quality of medical care and attention they’d get. Dr. Jun Hamano of the University of Tsukuba and his colleagues looked at the issue by prospectively studying 2,069 patients, with 1,582 of them receiving hospital-based palliative care and 487 receiving home-based palliative care.
Dr. Hamano noted that the cancer patient and family tend to be concerned that the quality of medical treatment provided at home will be inferior to that given in a hospital and that survival might be shortened. However, he said, “We found that home death does not have a negative influence on the survival of cancer patients. It rather has a positive influence as the patient and their family can choose the place of death according to their preference and values.”
Hamano added, “Patients, families, and clinicians should be reassured that good home hospice care does not shorten patient life. It may achieve longer survival.”
The study is published early online in CANCER.
Follow @htlifeandstyle for more.