Population surveillance of navigation frequency and palliative care contact before death among cancer patients

Grace M. Johnston, Grace Park, Robin Urquhart, Gordon Walsh, Meg McCallum, Krista Rigby


Cancer patient navigation in Canada began in 2002 in Nova Scotia with oncology nurses providing support to patients from diagnosis up to and including end of life. This novel study was carried out to determine navigation frequency and palliative care contact rates, and variations in these rates among adults who were diagnosed with cancer, navigated, and then died between 2011 and 2014. Among the 2,532 study subjects, 56.7% were navigated for more than one month and 30.6% had palliative care contact reported. Variations were observed by geographic area, cancer stage, time from diagnosis to death, and whether the person died of cancer. Further study of the role of navigation is advised for persons at end of life.

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