Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

Location of Death and End-of-Life Characteristics of Young Adults with Cancer Treated at a Pediatric Hospital

Journal title
Journal of adolescent and young adult oncology
Publication year
Mark, M. S. J.; Yang, G.; Ding, L.; Norris, R. E.; Thienprayoon, R.

Background: Location of death (LOD) is an important aspect of end-of-life (EOL) care. Adolescents and young adults (YAs) with pediatric malignancies are increasingly treated in pediatric institutions. YAs, generally defined as 18-39 years old, deserve specific attention because adults have unique developmental and social considerations compared with younger patients. Objective: The goal of this retrospective cohort study was to understand the effect of treatment by a pediatric oncology program on EOL experiences for YAs. Specifically, we examined LOD, hospice, and palliative care (PC) involvement in a cohort of YAs who died of cancer in a large, quaternary care pediatric hospital. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients ?18 years of age, who died of cancer between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2017. Standardized data were abstracted from the institutional cancer registry and the electronic medical record. Results: YAs in this cohort more commonly died in the hospital (54.9%). Lack of hospice involvement and the presence of a documented do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order were significantly associated with inpatient death. The majority of patients had long-standing PC involvement (95.8%, median 318 days), a DNR order (78.9%), and had enrolled in hospice care (60.6%) before death. Conclusions: These results suggest that a significant proportion of YAs with cancer remain inpatient for EOL care. Pediatric oncologists and PC teams may benefit from additional training in the unique psychosocial needs of YAs to optimize EOL care for these older patients.

Research abstracts