University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Palliative care services in families of males with Duchenne muscular dystrophy


Arias R, Andrews J, Pandya S, Pettit K, Trout C, Apkon S, Karwoski J, Cunniff C, Matthews D, Miller T, Davis MF, Meaney FJ



Publication Info:

Muscle & Nerve, 44(1):93-101


INTRODUCTION: Palliative care services that address physical pain and emotional, psychosocial, and spiritual needs may benefit individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
METHODS: The objective of this study was to describe the palliative care services that families of males with DMD report they receive. A questionnaire was administered to families of males with DMD born prior to January 1, 1982. Thirty-four families responded.
RESULTS: Most families (85%) had never heard the term palliative care. Only attendant care and skilled nursing services showed much usage, with 44% and 50% indicating receipt of these services, respectively. Receipt of other services was reported less frequently: pastoral care (27%); respite care (18%); pain management (12%); and hospice care (6%). Only 8 respondents (25%) reported having any type of directive document in place.
CONCLUSION: The data suggest a need for improved awareness of palliative care and related services among families of young men with DMD.

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