Use of palliative care, oxygen therapy increasing for COPD
Andrea S. Gershon, M.D., from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, and colleagues described trends in use of end-of-life care strategies by people with advanced COPD. The annual proportions of individuals who received formal palliative care, long-term oxygen therapy, or opioids from 2004 to 2014 were ascertained.
A total of 151,912 individuals with advanced COPD were identified in Ontario between 2004 and 2014. The researchers found that there was a 1 percent increase per year in the use of formal palliative care services, from 5.3 percent in 2004 to 14.3 percent in 2014 (P for trend < 0.001); use of long-term oxygen therapy increased 1.1 percent per year, from 26.4 percent in 2004 to 35.3 percent in 2013 (P for trend < 0.001). Opioid use remained stable (40 percent in 2004 and 41.8 percent in 2014; P for trend = 0.08). The likelihood of using formal palliative care services and long-term oxygen therapy was lower among younger individuals.
"Efforts should focus on increasing access to such strategies as well as educating patients and providers of their benefits," the authors write.
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