Evaluating Palliative Opportunities Across the Age Spectrum in Children and Adolescent Patients with Cancer

Title

Evaluating Palliative Opportunities Across the Age Spectrum in Children and Adolescent Patients with Cancer

Creator

Labudde EJ; DeGroote NP; Ebelhar J; Massie AM; Allen KE; Castellino SM; Wasilewski-Masker K; Brock KE

Publisher

Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology

Date

2021

Subject

pediatric palliative care; age; end of life; palliative opportunity

Description

Purpose: Adolescent patients with cancer experience unique stressors due to their developmental stage, with increased physical, emotional, and social distress. Palliative care (PC) serves an important role in pediatric cancer care. We examined "palliative opportunities," or events during a patient's cancer course where subspecialty PC would be warranted and compared opportunities between adolescents and younger patients. Methods: Patients from a single center, 0-18 years of age at cancer diagnosis, who died from January 1, 2012, to November 30, 2017, were included. In this secondary analysis, patients were divided into cohorts based on age at diagnosis: 0-12 and 13-18 years. Demographic, disease, and treatment data were collected. Descriptive statistics and modeling were performed. Number, type, and timing of palliative opportunities and PC consultation timing and reason were evaluated across cohorts. Results: Of the 296 patients included for analysis, 27.7% were 13-18 years (82/296) at diagnosis. Frequency of palliative opportunities did not differ by age (median 7.0 [interquartile range 4.0 and 10.0] in both cohorts). PC consultation occurred in 36.5% (108/296), with neither rate nor timing differing by age group. PC consultations in adolescents were more often for symptom management (p = 0.0001). Adolescent patients were less likely to have a do-not-resuscitate order placed before death (61.0%, 50/82) compared to younger patients (73.8%, 158/214, p = 0.03). Conclusion: Adolescent patients with cancer did not experience more palliative opportunities than younger patients in this cohort, although they often have challenging psychological, family, and social stressors that were not identified. Incorporating additional palliative opportunities could enhance identification of stress and symptoms in adolescents with cancer such that PC could be timed to meet their needs.

Rights

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Citation List Month

2021 Special Edition - Oncology

Citation

Labudde EJ; DeGroote NP; Ebelhar J; Massie AM; Allen KE; Castellino SM; Wasilewski-Masker K; Brock KE, “Evaluating Palliative Opportunities Across the Age Spectrum in Children and Adolescent Patients with Cancer,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 19, 2024, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/18975.