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Deena R. Levine, Liza-Marie Johnson, Angela Snyder, Robert K. Wiser, Deborah Gibson, Javier R. Kane and Justin N. Baker

Background: The demonstrated benefit of integrating palliative care (PC) into cancer treatment has triggered an increased need for PC services. The trajectory of integrating PC in comprehensive cancer centers, particularly pediatric centers, is unknown. We describe our 8-year experience of initiating and establishing PC with the Quality of Life Service (QoLS) at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed records of patients seen by the QoLS (n=615) from March 2007 to December 2014. Variables analyzed for each year, using descriptive statistics, included diagnostic groups, QoLS encounters, goals of care, duration of survival, and location of death. Results: Total QoLS patient encounters increased from 58 (2007) to 1,297 (2014), new consults increased from 17 (2007) to 115 (2014), and mean encounters per patient increased from 5.06 (2007) to 16.11 (2014). Goal of care at initial consultation shifted from primarily comfort to an increasing goal of cure. The median number of days from initial consult to death increased from 52 days (2008) to 223 days (2014). A trend toward increased outpatient location of death was noted with 42% outpatient deaths in 2007, increasing to a majority in each subsequent year (range, 51%–74%). Hospital-wide, patients receiving PC services before death increased from approximately 50% to nearly 100%. Conclusions: Since its inception, the QoLS experienced a dramatic increase in referrals and encounters per patient, increased use by all clinical services, a trend toward earlier consultation and longer term follow-up, increasing outpatient location of death, and near-universal PC involvement at the end-of-life. The successful integration of PC in a comprehensive cancer center, and the resulting potential for improved care provision over time, can serve as a model for other programs on a broad scale.

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Michael H. Levy, Thomas Smith, Amy Alvarez-Perez, Anthony Back, Justin N. Baker, Susan Block, Shirley N. Codada, Shalini Dalal, Maria Dans, Jean S. Kutner, Elizabeth Kvale, Sumathi Misra, William Mitchell, Todd M. Sauer, David Spiegel, Linda Sutton, Robert M. Taylor, Jennifer Temel, Roma Tickoo, Susan G. Urba, Carin Van Zyl, Sharon M. Weinstein, Mary Anne Bergman and Jillian L. Scavone

The NCCN Guidelines for Palliative Care provide interdisciplinary recommendations on palliative care for patients with cancer. These NCCN Guidelines Insights summarize the NCCN panel’s discussions and guideline updates from 2013 and 2014. These include modifications/additions to palliative care screening and assessment protocols, new considerations for discussing the benefits and risks of anticancer therapy, and approaches to advance care planning. Recent updates focus on enhanced patient-centered care and seek to promote earlier integration of palliative care and advance care planning in oncology.

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Michael Levy, Thomas Smith, Amy Alvarez-Perez, Anthony Back, Justin N. Baker, Anna C. Beck, Susan Block, Shalini Dalal, Maria Dans, Thomas R. Fitch, Jennifer Kapo, Jean S. Kutner, Elizabeth Kvale, Sumathi Misra, William Mitchell, Diane G. Portman, Todd M. Sauer, David Spiegel, Linda Sutton, Eytan Szmuilowicz, Robert M. Taylor, Jennifer Temel, Roma Tickoo, Susan G. Urba, Elizabeth Weinstein, Finly Zachariah, Mary Anne Bergman and Jillian L. Scavone

The NCCN Guidelines for Palliative Care provide interdisciplinary recommendations on palliative care for patients with cancer. The NCCN Guidelines are intended to provide guidance to the primary oncology team on the integration of palliative care into oncology. The NCCN Palliative Care Panel's recommendations seek to ensure that each patient experiences the best quality of life possible throughout the illness trajectory. Accordingly, the NCCN Guidelines outline best practices for screening, assessment, palliative care interventions, reassessment, and after-death care.

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Maria Dans, Thomas Smith, Anthony Back, Justin N. Baker, Jessica R. Bauman, Anna C. Beck, Susan Block, Toby Campbell, Amy A. Case, Shalini Dalal, Howard Edwards, Thomas R. Fitch, Jennifer Kapo, Jean S. Kutner, Elizabeth Kvale, Charles Miller, Sumathi Misra, William Mitchell, Diane G. Portman, David Spiegel, Linda Sutton, Eytan Szmuilowicz, Jennifer Temel, Roma Tickoo, Susan G. Urba, Elizabeth Weinstein, Finly Zachariah, Mary Anne Bergman and Jillian L. Scavone

The NCCN Guidelines for Palliative Care provide interdisciplinary recommendations on palliative care for patients with cancer. These NCCN Guidelines Insights summarize and provide context for the updated guidelines recommendations regarding hospice and end-of-life (EOL) care. Updates for 2017 include revisions to and restructuring of the algorithms that address important EOL concerns. These recommendations were revised to provide clearer guidance for oncologists as they care for patients with cancer who are approaching the transition to EOL care. Recommendations for interventions and reassessment based on estimated life expectancy were streamlined and reprioritized to promote hospice referrals and improved EOL care.