Association of Patient-Centered Elements of Care and Palliative Care Among Patients With Advanced Lung Cancer

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Context: Palliative care (PC) is associated with improved quality of life, survival, and decreased healthcare use at the end of life among lung cancer patients. However, the specific elements of palliative care that may contribute to these benefits are unclear. Objectives: To evaluate the associations of PC and its setting of delivery with prescriptions of symptom management medications, advance care planning (ACP), hospice enrollment, and home health care (HHC) receipt. Methods: Retrospective, cohort study of patients with advanced stage (IIIB/IV) lung cancer in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) diagnosed from 2007-2013; with follow-up through 2017. Propensity score methods were used with inverse probability of treatment weighting and logistic regression modeling, adjusting for patient and tumor characteristics. Results: Among 23 142 patients, 57% received PC. Compared to non-receipt of PC, PC in any setting (inpatient or outpatient) was associated with increased prescriptions of pain medications (Adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) = 1.63, 95% CI: 1.45-1.83), constipation regimen with pain medications (aOR = 2.04, 95% CI: 1.63-2.54), and antidepressants (aOR = 1.78, 95% CI: 1.52-2.09). PC was also associated with increased ACP (aOR = 1.52, 95% CI: 1.37-1.67) and hospice enrollment (aOR = 1.39, 95% CI:1.31-1.47), and decreased HHC (aOR = 0.79, 95% CI: 0.70-.90) compared to non-receipt of PC. Receipt of PC in outpatient settings was associated with increased prescriptions of pain medications (aOR = 2.54, 95% CI: 2.13-3.04) and antidepressants (aOR = 1.76, 95% CI: 1.46-2.12), and hospice enrollment (aOR = 2.09, 95% CI: 1.90-2.31) compared to receipt of PC in inpatient settings. Conclusions: PC is associated with increased use of symptom management medications, ACP, and hospice enrollment, especially when delivered in outpatient settings. These elements of care elucidate potential mechanisms for improved outcomes associated with PC and provide a framework for a primary palliative care approach among non-palliative care clinicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • advance care planning
  • hospice
  • lung cancer
  • oncology
  • outpatient
  • palliative care
  • quality of life
  • symptom management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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