Are Doctors Having End-Of-Life Talks With Cancer Patients Too Late?

 

doctor holding blood testMany doctors wait too long to have end-of-life discussions with blood cancer patients, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed surveys completed by 349 blood cancer specialists, and found that 56 percent said end-of-life discussions with patients happen too late.

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Nearly 43 percent said they had their first end-of-life discussions with patients at less-than-ideal times, the findings showed. About 23 percent of the doctors said they waited until death was imminent before discussing hospice care. And nearly 40 percent waited until death was imminent before they asked patients where they wanted to die.

Several factors may contribute to the delay in end-of-life discussions with blood cancer patients, according to Dr. Oreofe Odejide, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues.