Palliative care content on cancer center websites

Laura B. Vater, Gina Rebesco, Yael Schenker, Alexia Torke, Gregory Gramelspacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Professional guidelines recommend that palliative care begin early in advanced cancer management, yet integration of palliative and cancer care remains suboptimal. Cancer centers may miss opportunities to provide palliative care information online. In this study, we described the palliative care content on cancer center websites. Methods: We conducted a systematic content analysis of 62 National Cancer Institute- (NCI) designated cancer center websites. We assessed the content of center homepages and analyzed search results using the terms palliative care, supportive care, and hospice. For palliative and supportive care webpages, we assessed services offered and language used to describe care. Two researchers analyzed all websites using a standardized coding manual. Kappa values ranged from 0.78 to 1. Results: NCI-designated cancer center homepages presented information about cancer-directed therapy (61%) more frequently than palliative care (5%). Ten percent of cancer centers had no webpage with palliative care information for patients. Among centers with information for patients, the majority (96%) defined palliative or supportive care, but 30% did not discuss delivery of palliative care alongside curative treatment, and 14% did not mention provision of care early in the disease process. Conclusions: Cancer center homepages rarely mention palliative care services. While the majority of centers have webpages with palliative care content, they sometimes omit information about early use of care. Improving accessibility of palliative care information and increasing emphasis on early provision of services may improve integration of palliative and cancer care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Oct 9 2017

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Cancer centers
  • Content analysis
  • Palliative care
  • Websites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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