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LCPC Policy Brief 2

End of Life Utilization and Costs and the Role of Palliative Care in Treating Patients with Advanced Cancer
29 November 2021

Eric Finkelstein with input from the COMPASS Study Team                                             

Lien Centre for Palliative Care                                          
Duke-NUS Medical School

Key Messages

1. Data from the COMPASS cohort study reveal that many advanced cancer patients in Singapore receive costly and aggressive care in their final months of life.
2. Evidence from the global literature suggests that palliative care may reduce both end-of-life patient suffering and health care costs.

3. Among patients in the COMPASS study, lack of awareness of palliative care is widespread.

4. Seventy percent of COMPASS patients who died received no palliative care.

5. Singapore should take steps to increase community awareness of the benefits of palliative care.

6. To reach more patients, efforts should be undertaken to expand the number of specialist palliative care providers and to train generalists in select palliative care services.

7. Reimbursement policies should be enacted to incentivize physician referrals to palliative services.

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