Palliative Care Gets Scientific Backing; Palliative Care May Not Extend the Lives of People with Serious Illnesses, but It Can Greatly Improve the Quality of Their Remaining Days, Months or Years, According to a Study Published Tuesday by University of Pittsburgh Researchers. [Derived Headline]

By Schmitt, Ben | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 23, 2016 | Go to article overview

Palliative Care Gets Scientific Backing; Palliative Care May Not Extend the Lives of People with Serious Illnesses, but It Can Greatly Improve the Quality of Their Remaining Days, Months or Years, According to a Study Published Tuesday by University of Pittsburgh Researchers. [Derived Headline]


Schmitt, Ben, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Palliative care may not extend the lives of people with serious illnesses, but it can greatly improve the quality of their remaining days, months or years, according to a study published Tuesday by University of Pittsburgh researchers.

The concept of palliative care focuses on using a team of doctors, social workers, nurses and others to help patients and their families deal with serious and terminal illnesses. Such care ranges from counseling and medical decision-making assistance to treatment goals and symptom management.

"This is a huge issue that affects almost all of us," said Dio Kavalieratos, assistant professor of medicine at Pitt's School of Medicine. "Over the past 10 years, there has been a lot of growth in research regarding palliative care."

Kavalieratos and colleagues spent two years reviewing 43 clinical trials of palliative care practice involving 12,731 adults with serious illnesses dating more than 20 years. The review also included 2,479 of their family caregivers.

Most of the studies included patients with cancer, while some included patients with heart failure. These two conditions are the most common precursors to palliative care, said Kavalieratos, the study's lead author.

The findings appeared in Tuesday's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The average age of patients in the studies was 67.

Most studies included in the JAMA analysis measured how well palliative care addressed physical and psychological issues. Kavalieratos said patients who received palliative care had better quality of life and less severe symptoms than those patients who hadn't received palliative care.

Still, he pointed out that the studies found no definitive link between palliative care and survival. …

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Palliative Care Gets Scientific Backing; Palliative Care May Not Extend the Lives of People with Serious Illnesses, but It Can Greatly Improve the Quality of Their Remaining Days, Months or Years, According to a Study Published Tuesday by University of Pittsburgh Researchers. [Derived Headline]
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