Eduardo Bruera, MD, FAAHPM
Eduardo Bruera, MD, FAAHPM, Medical Director, Department of Supportive Care Center, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, underscored the study’s potential to influence clinical care decisions.
“The emergency department is a ‘hard hat’ area of care where bad things happen and where a big difference can be made in the last moments of a patient’s life depending on the decisions made by the clinical team,” said Dr. Bruera. “This is a wonderful finding because these are very simple tools that can be used to immediately move the patient to a different paradigm. [Emergency physicians] can now put a consult right away to palliative care, and by the morning, a specialist can work with these patients and their families, potentially sparing them several days of admission. A specialist can also deliver end-of-life care and even arrange for patients to go to hospice directly from the emergency room without going into the hospital.”
“That’s why these data are so exciting,” said Dr. Bruera, who noted the results could be even more striking with the inclusion of clinically unstable patients. “I look forward to a bigger series at this conference next year.” ■
DISCLOSURE: Dr. Bruera reported no conflicts of interest.
Dyspnea, delirium, and poor performance—so-called “triple threat” conditions—are known to predict short survival in palliative care. According to data presented at the 2017 Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium,1 however, the presence of at least two of these symptoms in patients...