A group of Duke University and Duke Cancer Institute researchers presented a study to find out the ease of accessibility of the palliative care system for new patients. The study was in the form of calling 40 NCI-designated cancer centres, seeking palliative care services. Of all calls made, 29% went unanswered, and palliative care services could not be confirmed to be offered in 9.5% of the calls. There was also misconception about palliative care among the staff with some being unfamiliar with the term altogether. The authors of the study noted that efforts need to be made to make the available services accessible to patients as well. Lead author, third-year medical student, Katheryn Hutchins pointed out that this study provided an opportunity to educate and train front-line staff so the entire cancer centre has a common understanding of palliative care.
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