Palliative care in adolescents and young adults with cancer
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Adolescents and young adults (AYA) with advanced or terminal cancer have distinctive medical and psychosocial needs that may not have been adequately provided by either pediatric or adult palliative care services. A discussion group, as part of a larger workshop on AYA with cancer, was held in Toronto on March 11-13, 2010;117:-. Recommendations were as follows: Develop a specific AYA screening tool designed to detect increased anxiety or new symptoms and to initiate discussion about palliative or symptom care; Set Canadian standards for palliative care in AYA patients. These standards should be included in hospital accreditation; Involve the palliative/symptom care team early in the disease trajectory to help manage clinically important symptoms that may not be associated with imminent death; Establish specific AYA multidisciplinary palliative care teams throughout Canada that are flexible and can work in both pediatric and adult facilities, and are able to work in a "virtual" environment to support patients being cared for at home; Improve physical facilities in hospices and hospitals to meet the distinctive needs of terminally ill AYA patients; Enhance support for palliative care at home by: changing legislation to improve Compassionate Care Benefits and developing "virtual palliative care support teams". Adequate provision of AYA palliative care and symptom management services will likely confer notable benefits to AYA patients and their families, and is likely to be cost saving to the tax payer by avoiding prolonged hospitalization and promoting easier return to work for the families and caregivers.
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