Few studies have assessed the impact of hospice care in patients with primary liver cancer.
Professor Younossi and colleagues from Virginia, USA examined the determinants of hospice care, and its effects on resource utilisation and survival among Medicare beneficiaries with primary liver cancer.
The team utilized the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End result Registry database from 2002 to 2009 for this cross-sectional study.
A total of 3385 patients with primary liver cancer were included.
The team of researchers used logistic regression to discern variables associated with hospice and cox proportional hazards models to evaluate one-year mortality risk.
Compared to patients who enrolled in a hospice, those patients who did not, were younger, non-white and sicker.
The team found that half of all patients with primary liver cancer died within 6 months of diagnosis, and 1-year mortality was similar in both groups.
After adjusting for baseline characteristics, shorter time to hospice care was associated with reduced mortality.
|Older age was associated with increased time to hospice
|Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Older age, decompensated cirrhosis and advanced tumor stage were associated with decreased time to hospice, while Asian/Pacific Islander race and history of radiosurgery were associated with increased time to hospice.
The researchers observed that hospitalizations were more costly for those who never enrolled in a hospice compared to hospice enrollees.
Professor Younossi's team concludes,"Hospice enrolment of patients with primary liver cancer provides survival and resource utilization benefits."
"Some clinical and demographic factors may represent barriers to hospice enrolment."
"Further studies are needed to fully understand these barriers in patients with primary liver cancer."