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Palliative Radiation Pathways for People on Hospice or Considering Hospice

Palliative treatments are given to improve patients’ quality of life and provide comfort and symptom relief. Palliative radiation treatment requires fewer doses than radiation therapy given in people who are being treated with curative intent. The courses are designed to minimize time and effort spent in travel and treatment of patients on hospice. When considering hospice, patients may worry about losing access to a radiation oncologist. They don’t have to. 

MOQC, with the help of a workgroup consisting of radiation oncologists, hospice and palliative care providers, medical oncologists, and patients and caregivers identified two major clinical scenarios for palliative radiation for people on hospice or considering hospice: painful bone metastases and bleeding amenable to radiation.

In May 2023, MOQC presented the pathways during the Michigan HomeCare and Hospice Association (MHHA)’s annual conference. Specific patient scenarios were reviewed, and attendees were asked to determine whether palliative radiation would be the appropriate course of treatment. During the conference, MOQC introduced a patient-facing video on palliative radiation, which may now be accessed on the MOQC website: