[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with advanced cancer experience a complex web of problems, all of which interact. Specialist palliative care services have developed to meet these needs, but their effectiveness should be considered. We sought to determine whether specialist palliative care teams achieve their aims and improve outcomes for patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers, in terms of improving symptoms and quality of life and/or reducing the emotional concerns of family caregivers. We conducted a systematic review, searching standard databases augmented by reference lists of earlier reviews. The review focused on specialist (ie, with trained and dedicated professionals) palliative care in the home, hospital, or designated inpatient settings for patients with cancer. Outcomes were pain, symptoms, quality of life, use of hospital services, and anxiety. Studies were excluded if they did not test specialist palliative care services. We identified 8 randomized controlled trials and 32 observational or quasi-experimental studies. Overall, the evidence demonstrated that home, hospital, and inpatient specialist palliative care significantly improved patient outcomes in the domains of pain and symptom control, anxiety, and reduced hospital admissions. The results suggest that specialist palliative care should be part of care for cancer patients. Although the appraisal of evidence found improvements across domains, there is a need to understand better the effects of different models of palliative care and to use standardized outcome measurement.
The Cancer Journal 09/2010; 16(5):423-35. DOI:10.1097/PPO.0b013e3181f684e5 · 4.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Around the globe, health care costs continue to rise resulting in the emphasis on allocating scarce resources toward interventions that have been found to be cost- and clinically effective. Palliative care is no exception, yet the science of outcomes measurement in palliative care, and especially in pediatric palliative care, lags behind other disciplines. National and international experts and organizations have recognized the importance of outcomes measurement and have included this as a research priority. This article outlines some of the complexities of measuring outcomes in pediatric palliative care. It is recommended that national and international collaborations include representatives of the pediatric palliative care community.
The American journal of hospice & palliative care 03/2010; 27(4):277-81. DOI:10.1177/1049909110364019 · 1.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lenalidomide represents the first drug in a novel class of agents known as IMiDs. It has both direct antimyeloma activity and an indirect effect acting through the microenvironment. In the relapsed/refractory setting, lenalidomide has been demonstrated to be highly active, producing partial and complete responses that translate into improved survival. Generally, the drug is well tolerated and more recently this agent has been used in combination with steroids, chemotherapy agents and other novel agents that have further enhanced its efficacy in clinical trials. However, the cost of this and other novel agents is significantly greater than previously used chemotherapy protocols, which in turn means that they have fallen under the scrutiny of regulatory bodies such as NICE. It is important that researchers understand the instruments used by these bodies to come to decisions regarding cost-effectiveness if patients are not to be disadvantaged by not being given access to these active new agents. This article outlines the models used by health economists and assesses their potential shortcomings. It also suggests alternative methods and identifies areas of research where improvements might be achieved.
Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research 06/2010; 10(3):229-38. DOI:10.1586/erp.10.19 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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