The location where cancer patients spend their last days can affect their “quality of death.” However, it remains unclear whether the location along with the received treatment and care can affect their survival. Therefore, we investigated whether there is a difference between the survival of advanced cancer patients who received treatment and care at home (home group) and those who received treatment and care in a palliative care ward (palliative care ward group).
We conducted a study on the effect of location on survival. The patients’ physical conditions and symptoms at the time treatment and care started at home or in a palliative care ward, symptoms until death, and received treatment and care were considered. Results showed that the survival time was considerably longer in the home group than in the palliative care ward group when the prognosis was expected in months or weeks, according to PiPS-A, an objective prognostic indicator. However, there was no considerable difference in survival time based on the location when the prognosis was expected in days. Our research is published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Notably, this study did not consider symptoms before death and how the received treatment and care changed and affected survival. Therefore, we cannot conclude that people live longer at home. Nonetheless, the findings can be used to reassure clinicians, patients, and families that spending the final hours at home is unlikely to shorten survival.
Jun Hamano et al, Comparison of survival times of advanced cancer patients with palliative care at home and in hospital, PLOS ONE (2023). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0284147
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