Researchers: Nearly 90% of Americans Do Not Understand Palliative Care

Posted Sunday, June 13, 2021

According to a recent study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, close to 89% of Americans do not understand what palliative care is.  The more regular healthcare a patient receives, the more likely it is that they will understand the role of palliative care.

“Among the 3,450 patients surveyed by researchers from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, those who have a regular source of medical care were 2.67 times more likely to have adequate knowledge of palliative care than people who do not, the study found. Cancer patients in particular were 51% more likely to be familiar with palliative care than those who have never been diagnosed with that disease.”

“Despite the known benefits of palliative care and its endorsement by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, we have not seen an increased uptake of palliative care by those who need it most,” said Motolani Ogunsanya, PhD, an assistant professor at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. “A common misconception is that palliative care is only for end-of-life care when, in fact, it can begin at any point in the disease course.”

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