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Association of Social Support With Overall Survival and Healthcare Utilization in Patients With Aggressive Hematologic Malignancies

P. Connor Johnson, Netana H. Markovitz, Tamryn F. Gray, Sunil Bhatt, Ryan D. Nipp, Nneka Ufere, Julia Rice, Matthew J. Reynolds, Mitchell W. Lavoie, Carlisle E.W. Topping, Madison A. Clay, Charlotta Lindvall, and Areej El-Jawahri

Background: Social support plays a crucial role for patients with aggressive hematologic malignancies as they navigate their illness course. The aim of this study was to examine associations of social support with overall survival (OS) and healthcare utilization in this population. Methods: A cross-sectional secondary analysis was conducted using data from a prospective longitudinal cohort study of 251 hospitalized patients with aggressive hematologic malignancies at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2014 through 2017. Natural Language Processing (NLP) was used to identify the extent of patients’ social support (limited vs adequate as defined by NLP-aided chart review of the electronic health record). Multivariable regression models were used to examine associations of social support with (1) OS, (2) death or readmission within 90 days of discharge from index hospitalization, (3) time to readmission within 90 days, and (4) index hospitalization length of stay. Results: Patients had a median age of 64 years (range, 19–93 years), and most were White (89.6%), male (68.9%), and married (65.3%). A plurality of patients had leukemia (42.2%) followed by lymphoma (37.9%) and myelodysplastic syndrome/myeloproliferative neoplasm (19.9%). Using NLP, we identified that 8.8% (n=22) of patients had limited social support. In multivariable analyses, limited social support was associated with worse OS (hazard ratio, 2.00; P=.042) and a higher likelihood of death or readmission within 90 days of discharge (odds ratio, 3.11; P=.043), but not with time to readmission within 90 days or with index hospitalization length of stay. Conclusions: In this cohort of hospitalized patients with aggressive hematologic malignancies, we found associations of limited social support with lower OS and a higher likelihood of death or readmission within 90 days of hospital discharge. These findings underscore the utility of NLP for evaluating the extent of social support and the need for larger studies evaluating social support in patients with aggressive hematologic malignancies.

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Randomized Trial of a Palliative Care Intervention to Improve End-of-Life Care Discussions in Patients With Metastatic Breast Cancer

Joseph A. Greer, Beverly Moy, Areej El-Jawahri, Vicki A. Jackson, Mihir Kamdar, Juliet Jacobsen, Charlotta Lindvall, Jennifer A. Shin, Simone Rinaldi, Heather A. Carlson, Angela Sousa, Emily R. Gallagher, Zhigang Li, Samantha Moran, Magaret Ruddy, Maya V. Anand, Julia E. Carp, and Jennifer S. Temel

Background: Studies show that early, integrated palliative care (PC) improves quality of life (QoL) and end-of-life (EoL) care for patients with poor-prognosis cancers. However, the optimal strategy for delivering PC for those with advanced cancers who have longer disease trajectories, such as metastatic breast cancer (MBC), remains unknown. We tested the effect of a PC intervention on the documentation of EoL care discussions, patient-reported outcomes, and hospice utilization in this population. Patients and Methods: Patients with MBC and clinical indicators of poor prognosis (n=120) were randomly assigned to receive an outpatient PC intervention (n=61) or usual care (n=59) between May 2, 2016, and December 26, 2018, at an academic cancer center. The intervention entailed 5 structured PC visits focusing on symptom management, coping, prognostic awareness, decision-making, and EoL planning. The primary outcome was documentation of EoL care discussions in the electronic health record (EHR). Secondary outcomes included patient-report of discussions with clinicians about EoL care, QoL, and mood symptoms at 6, 12, 18, and 24 weeks after baseline and hospice utilization. Results: The rate of EoL care discussions documented in the EHR was higher among intervention patients versus those receiving usual care (67.2% vs 40.7%; P=.006), including a higher completion rate of a Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form (39.3% vs 13.6%; P=.002). Intervention patients were also more likely to report discussing their EoL care wishes with their doctor (odds ratio [OR], 3.10; 95% CI, 1.21–7.94; P=.019) and to receive hospice services (OR, 4.03; 95% CI, 1.10–14.73; P=.035) compared with usual care patients. Study groups did not differ in patient-reported QoL or mood symptoms. Conclusions: This PC intervention significantly improved rates of discussion and documentation regarding EoL care and delivery of hospice services among patients with MBC, demonstrating that PC can be tailored to address the supportive care needs of patients with longer disease trajectories.

ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02730858