A Tulane study finds cancer patients are more likely to receive palliative care after learning more about it. Researcher Michael Hoerger authored the study and says there are a lot of misconceptions about palliative care. He says the purpose of this study is to dispel some of the rumors.
“Often people think it’s the same thing as hospice, but it’s actually something different. It’s care that’s focused on supporting people’s quality of life in the context of a serious illness,” Hoerger said.
Hoerger says palliative care can seem scary to patients because many believe it is the same as hospice care. He says the study looked at whether cancer patients were more or less likely to see this kind of care after learning more about it.
“We explained to them findings from the study that showed that patients who received palliative care in the context of advanced cancer had better physical functioning, they were less depressed, and they lived about two months longer,” Hoerger said.
Hoerger says this is something patients can do while they’re still receiving treatment. He adds that they don’t have to be near death to receive palliative care. He says after learning about the benefits of palliative care, 75% of participants were more likely to seek it out.
“Once they learn that it’s something they can do while they’re still getting treatment and that it has a huge benefit, people are a lot less scared, and they’re much more interested in palliative care,” Hoerger said.