This is demonstrated by researchers at Uppsala University, Karolinska Institutet and Umeå University in a new study.
– Surprisingly and remarkably, the proportion of patients with cancer who, at the time of death, had been prescribed to receive injection medication when needed against nausea, anxiety and mucus in the respiratory tract was significantly lower in hospitals than in other forms of care. the base of the study.
At the international level, there is a broad consensus that these drugs should prescribe a patient who dies, regardless of the way of care.
– Since there are kits prepared for palliative medications, it should be a simple measure to offer dying patients both in hospitals and in other forms of care. However, it was positive that the prescription of drugs to alleviate the pain was almost as high in all forms of care, says Sixten Elmstedt.
The study is based on Swedish palliative record data of nearly 42,000 patients with cancer during their last week of life. It is, therefore, the largest study in the world to date to point out the importance of the care method for the palliative care of cancer patients in the last stages of life.
The recommendations also include that patients and their relatives must be able to receive information about when death is imminent. The fact that relatives and, above all, patients did not receive it was clearly more common in hospitals than in palliative care, although health personnel said death was foreseen and doctors decided change attention at the end of life. Even in nursing homes, this information worked better for patients and relatives than in hospitals.
– Certainly, it is not certain that all patients or relatives want to know if death is imminent, but in any case, they must ask so that they themselves can decide whether they should be informed about it or not, says Sixten Elmstedt.
The data on which the study is based are extended until 2013. One change from then on is that so-called palliative consulting teams have been established in various parts of the country to provide advice and assistance to the departments of hospitals and nursing homes where caring for patients who die.
– It's positive, but I do not think these measures have had so much impact that the results of our study have changed significantly, says Sixten Elmstedt.
Footnote: The scientific report of the study is published in the Acta Oncológica journal and can be read here.