Making Quality of Life a Priority
No one wants to suffer. No one should have to.
Quality of life matters at every phase of life.
Specialized palliative care and hospice care can greatly increase quality of life for cancer patients.
In an ideal scenario, patients would be given all necessary information and opportunities to exercise the degree of control they choose over the health care decisions that affect them. Health care professionals would be trained to have these difficult conversations and to understand and communicate the benefits of palliative care and hospice. Patients and their loved ones would then have access to the type of care they choose.
Americans want this type of care, yet currently:
- 16-20% of patients receive chemotherapy within 14 days of death.[i]
- Fewer than 40% of patients with advanced cancer have realistic conversations with their providers about treatment options and alternatives.[ii]
- 65% of medical oncologists wait until there are no more non-palliative options to bring up hospice.[iii]
- Physicians caring for cancer patients have reported that they would not discuss end-of-life options with terminally ill patients who are feeling well, instead waiting for symptoms or until there are no more non-palliative treatments to offer.[iv]
Patients who actively participate in treatment decisions are more satisfied with their care and may have better outcomes. Fully informed decisions are more likely to lead to greater use of palliative care services and a longer use of hospice care – meaning individuals with cancer could live with less burden of suffering. We believe this vision can be made into a reality for all cancer patients.
C-Change is committed to making quality of life a greater priority throughout the continuum of care by working towards:
- A system that supports optimal and timely use of specialized palliative care and hospice care,
- A professional culture that understands the care options to improve quality of life, is supportive of the need to communicate options to individuals with cancer and their caregivers, and
- An informed population that is aware of the benefits of hospice and palliative care, and is empowered to ask for these services for themselves and their loved ones.
Through strategic partnerships and the collective power of the Assuring Value in Cancer Care Advisory Committee, C-Change is working with C-TAC and many others to create capacity to support the appropriate use of specialized palliative care and hospice care, and increase demand for these services by informing the public of the benefits and the ability to improve quality of life.
For more information about C-Change, its members and current initiatives, please visit http://c-changetogether.org/
Founded in 1998, C-Change is the only organization that assembles key cancer leaders from the three sectors — private, public, and not-for-profit — and from across the cancer continuum — prevention, early detection, treatment and quality of life
[i] Harrington SE, Smith TJ: The role of chemotherapy at the end of life: “When is enough, enough?” JAMA 299(22): 2667-2678, 2008
[ii] Mack JW, Weeks JC, Wright AA, et al: End-of-life discussions, goal attainment, and distress at the end of life: Predictors and outcomes of receipt of care consistent with preferences. Clin Oncol 28:1203-1208, 2010
[iii] Keating NL, Landrum MB, Rogers SO, et al: Physician factors associated with discussions about end-of-life care. Cancer 116(4):998-1006, 2010
[iv] Keating NL, Landrum MB, Rogers SO, et al: Physician factors associated with discussions about end-of-life care. Cancer 116(4):998-1006, 2010