More palliative care training needed

A study done by researchers from the University of California, Davis, of 124 surgeons has found a need for more standardized palliative care for patients. From the press release:

    124 surgeons were surveyed about the type and extent of their postgraduate training in palliative surgery. Additionally, study participants were asked to select the single best treatment option from four clinical scenarios, to identify the goals of the selected intervention and the three most important factors influencing their decisions.

    Joseph Galante, M.D., and colleagues uncovered significant deficiencies in education. More than 80 percent reported not receiving any palliative care training in their residency, and more than 44 percent lacked continuing medical education. Also, in three of the four given scenarios, a consensus on treatment was not reached. The respondents, though, were able to agree on the goal of treatment for their recommendations.

    Dr. Galante writes, the reason for the deficiencies in palliative education may be that physicians receive their training and experience from different sources and in different stages of their careers.

    Researchers say the study results suggest, "A more focused effort in training surgeons in palliative care may allow for the more uniform and standard provision of palliative surgical care to patients with advanced cancer." Based on these findings, Dr. Galante and colleagues advocate improved training and a nationwide program to standardize palliative surgical care.

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