Palliative care for elderly patients with advanced cancer: a long-term intervention for end-of-life care

Patient Educ Couns. 2008 Jun;71(3):351-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2008.02.023. Epub 2008 Mar 26.


Objective: This essay identifies elderly cancer patients as a population that experiences cancer-related health disparities at the end-of-life.

Methods: While hospice and palliative care (PC) are care options for this population, it is argued that PC prior to hospice will yield numerous benefits for long-term end-of-life care.

Results: It is theorized that PC prior to hospice will be beneficial in meeting the family's needs in a timely and adequate manner, improving quality of life, increasing caregiver satisfaction and communication, possibly delay institutionalization of the patient, and may ultimately impact bereavement.

Conclusion: Patients would be able to benefit from PC in an early stage of their disease, positively influencing older cancer patients and families.

Practice implications: Long-term assessment of the impact of PC prior to hospice is proposed as a promising direction of future research.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bereavement
  • Communication
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Services Research
  • Health Services for the Aged / organization & administration*
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization
  • Long-Term Care / organization & administration*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Palliative Care / organization & administration*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Patient Selection
  • Quality of Life
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Vulnerable Populations