The answer means more than you know.
Today’s top nursing homes integrate forms of palliative care as standard practice. Sadly, all the support and comfort in the world can’t always bring peace to those families affected by cancer. Patients and their caregivers deserve assurance—true certainty—when facing the crippling reality of impending death.
As of late 2016, the world’s top oncologists and researchers revealed that a new routine blood test could accurately predict how long cancer patients will survive. This ability to better pinpoint a prognosis is not only important to sufferers and their loved ones. It’s also integral to trained staff and their approach to caring for individuals in such dire circumstances.
“Patients with advanced cancer and their families have to make decisions about treatment, where to spend the end-of-life, and when to discontinue palliative chemotherapy,” says Dr. Yu Uneno of Kyoto University. “But this information needs to be shared sensitively and in a way that respects their desire to maintain hope.”
The blood test can offer reassurance to those deciding which cancer treatment is helpful and necessary, as it eliminates many medications and therapies with uncomfortable side effects. In developing the test, researchers evaluated approximately 1,000 patients, half of whom sought treatment in palliative care units.
Results revealed roughly 75-80% accuracy when predicting patients would perish in 1 to 3 months.
These findings are invaluable to those administering care in nursing homes, as it enhances their conviction in delivering news to families. Dr. Uneno agrees: “Accurate prediction of survival allows patients adequate time to prepare for their impending deaths and is vital for planning effective palliative care.”
As the testing technology gains traction throughout the greater healthcare community, SpecialtyRx plans to monitor new developments to continue educating our partnering facilities and their compassionate caregivers.