Publication Abstract

Authors: Wright AA, Hatfield LA, Earle CC, Keating NL

Title: End-of-life care for older patients with ovarian cancer is intensive despite high rates of hospice use.

Journal: J Clin Oncol 32(31):3534-9

Date: 2014 Nov 01

Abstract: PURPOSE: To date, few studies have examined end-of-life care for patients with ovarian cancer. One study documented increased hospice use among older patients with ovarian cancer from 2000 to 2005. We sought to determine whether increased hospice use was associated with less-intensive end-of-life medical care. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We identified 6,956 individuals age ≥ 66 years living in SEER areas who were enrolled in fee-for-service Medicare, diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer between 1997 and 2007, and died as a result of ovarian cancer by December 2007. We examined changes in medical care during patients' last month of life over time. RESULTS: Between 1997 and 2007, hospice use increased significantly, and terminal hospitalizations decreased (both P < .001). However, during this time, we also observed statistically significant increases in intensive care unit admissions, hospitalizations, repeated emergency department visits, and health care transitions (all P ≤ .01). In addition, the proportion of patients referred to hospice from inpatient settings rose over time (P = .001). Inpatients referred to hospice were more likely to enroll in hospice within 3 days of death than outpatients (adjusted odds ratio, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.12 to 1.66). CONCLUSION: Older women with ovarian cancer were more likely to receive hospice services near death and less likely to die in a hospital in 2007 compared with earlier years. Despite this, use of hospital-based services increased over time, and patients underwent more transitions among health care settings near death, suggesting that the increasing use of hospice did not offset intensive end-of-life care.