Sunday, September 4, 2011

Palliative care survival scale

Researchers recently developed a "survival scale" that predicts whether cancer patients in palliative care have days, weeks, or months to live. The tool predicts whether a patient has days, weeks or months to live.

Medical News: New Tool Predicts How Long Cancer Patients 

25 Aug 2011 ... A cancer survival scale based on readily available clinical and laboratory variables reliably predicted whether patients in palliative care had to live.

Multivariate analysis revealed 11 core variables that independently predicted two-week and two-month survival.
Two-week survival 
(dyspnea, dysphagia, bone metastases, and alanine transaminase)

Two-month survival
(primary breast cancer, male genitourinary cancer, fatigue, weight loss, lymphocyte count, neutrophil count, alkaline phosphatase, and albumin).

The PiPS-A models agreed with actual patient survival 59.6% of the time, compared with 56.3% for physician estimates, 55.2% for nurses', and 57.5% for the two professions combined. The results showed that PiPS-A models performed as well as clinician estimates.

An interesting MedPage survey:
 I wonder what family members think about this?
As an adult caregiver and daughter, I wanted to know.

I used the Assessment tools on my late father. I wasn't home when my mother died, as no one gave me any indication of how close she was to death.

How should physicians use such estimates?

1. Give them routinely to all patients? 2. Wait for patients to ask? 3. Not use them at all?

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