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Palliative Care Lacking for Chronic Lung Disease Patients

Patients with lung diseases have fewer DNRs, pain assessments than cancer patients

MONDAY, Feb. 1, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Among patients who die in the intensive care unit (ICU), patients with chronic lung diseases receive fewer elements of palliative care than cancer patients, according to a study published online Jan. 19 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Crystal E. Brown, M.D., from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and colleagues assessed differences in receipt of elements of palliative care for patients who die in ICUs with interstitial lung disease (ILD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) compared with patients with cancer. Patients died in 15 area hospitals from 2003 to 2008.

The researchers found that patients with COPD were more likely to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation before death and patients with ILD were less likely to have documented pain assessment in the last day of life compared with patients with cancer. At the time of death, patients with ILD and COPD were also less likely to have a do-not-resuscitate order in place and less likely to have documentation of discussion about prognosis compared with cancer patients. Patients with COPD and ILD had longer ICU lengths of stay.

“These findings identify areas for improvement in caring for patients with chronic lung diseases,” the authors write.

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