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Early Referral to Palliative Care for Advanced Oral Cancer Patients: A Quality Improvement Initiative in Oncology Center at All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Satija A, Lorenz K, DeNatale M, Mickelsen J, Deo SS, Bhatnagar S. Early Referral to Palliative Care for Advanced Oral Cancer Patients: A Quality Improvement Initiative in Oncology Center at All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Indian journal of palliative care. 2021 Aug 12; 27(2):230-234.

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Abstract:

Objectives: Oral cancers have high epidemiologic burden in India, and most oral cancer patients at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences present in advanced stages. Their symptomatic needs are often not adequately addressed and the referrals to palliative medicine clinic are for severe pain or terminal stages. Using quality improvement methods, we aimed to provide early referral to palliative care for advanced oral cancer patients. Materials and Methods: Duration (number of days) between registration at the head-and-neck cancer clinic and referral to palliative medicine clinic at baseline and postinterventions. Understanding current perceptions of oncologists for referral to palliative medicine clinic, educating them through departmental meetings, fostering clinician and patient-family awareness through pamphlets, defining process and screening guidelines for referral, including symptom burden charts in head-and-neck cancer clinic notes, soliciting regular feedback from oncologists at review meetings. Results: The number of days for the referral to the palliative medicine clinic decreased from an average of 48 days to 13 days in 6 months. Conclusion: A multicomponent intervention included oncologists and patients and families, education, workflow modification, standardized assessment, documentation, and clinician feedback, and succeeded in improving the timeliness of palliative care referrals of advanced oral cancer patients.





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