AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017


New Evidence for a Strategy to Identify Patients Nearing the End of Life

A new diagnosis question may predict the likelihood of cancer death within one year, by aligning current observations in a new context. A study was presented at the 2015 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium in Boston, where they introduced the concept. The tool simply consists of asking attending physicians, “Would you be surprised if this patient died within a year?” While this may seem overly elementary, the common responses seemed to indicate that such general estimates proved to be accurate long-term. “In all areas of medicine, patients may become seriously ill. Some of these patients will recover completely. Unfortunately, some won’t,” said the leading author of the study. “Our results showed that oncology clinicians’ own judgment using the ‘Surprise Question’ identified about 60 percent of patients who died within a year.” To learn more about this study, click here.

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