A recent survey showed that families with dementia or cancer patients are more satisfied with the palliative care, and they seem to receive more medical attention than the families of other patients.
However, patients that have life-threatening diseases received less attention and care, and they also had more do-not-resuscitate orders.
The researchers wanted answers on the differences of treatment between patients that were treated in their end-of-life.
Medical care quality depended on the type of disease and the race of the patient.
The lead author of the research said that cancer received most of the attention in end-of-life care. On the contrary, other illnesses were offered less attention.
The study involved surveys for patient’s family members in 58,000 medical cases that had been registered between 2009 and 2012. Family members were asked to share their experiences with palliative care and to rate the treatment quality.
The results showed that 75% of cancer patients and 61% of dementia patients received palliative care and consultations, while only 50% of patients with organ failure received end-of-life treatment and medical attention.
Another fact is that 30% of organ failure patients died in intensive care units, while only 13% of cancer patients died in hospitals.
In both cases, family members were satisfied with the treatment received by the patients. However, the study shows that the quality of palliative care was not comparable.
Another research showed that racial differences induced disparities in the quality of disease treatments. For example, Latinos and black veterans seemed to receive less attention and spiritual care in comparison with other patients.
Palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach to treating life-threatening diseases. Physicians focus more on the way they could relieve the symptoms despite the diagnosis.
This method includes consultations with family members regarding the treatment and the status of the patient, together with information concerning the patient’s well-being and ways to improve their comfort.
This type of care is provided by nurses and doctors with different specialization areas.
Hospice care is more specialized in spiritual and emotional support, and it is more common in patients with incurable diseases that are in the final stage of their medical condition.
Medical care experts say that both types of treatment, palliative, and hospice care should be done at the same time.
The study aims to raise awareness about the importance of the two approaches to end-of-life treatments, in the hope that patients and their families will have access to more information that will help them make better medical care decisions.