The oncology palliative care clinic at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre: an early intervention model for patients with advanced cancer
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Several recently published randomized controlled trials have demonstrated the benefits of early palliative care involvement for patients with advanced cancer. In the oncology outpatient setting, palliative care clinics are an ideal site for the provision of early, collaborative support, which can be maintained throughout the cancer trajectory. Despite this, access to ambulatory palliative care clinics is limited, even at tertiary cancer centres. Existing programs for outpatient palliative care are variable in scope and are not well described in the literature. We describe the development and expansion of an outpatient palliative care clinic at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Canada, demonstrating how the clinic functions at a local and regional level. This clinic served as the intervention for a recent large cluster-randomized trial of early palliative care. The model for this service can be adapted by other palliative care programs that aim to provide early, integrated oncology care.
KeywordsPalliative care Advanced cancer Early intervention Outpatient clinic
We extend our thanks to all the interdisciplinary palliative care team members who made the functioning of this clinic possible. Special thanks to Catherine Purcell, Christine Cameron, Malka Berman and Pat Cotman for their commitment to clinical and academic excellence in developing our outpatient palliative care service. This research was funded by the Canadian Cancer Society (grant #700862; CZ), and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Dr. Zimmermann is supported by the Rose Family Chair in Supportive Care, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.
Conflict of interest
There are no financial disclosures from any of the authors.
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