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Table 1 Characteristics of patients with Stage IV cancer and acute illness hospitalization, dichotomized by presence of EHR-documented goals-of-care discussion

From: How well do documented goals-of-care discussions for patients with stage IV cancer reflect communication best practices?

Characteristic
n(%)
Total
n = 492
Documented Goals-of-Care Discussion
n = 206
No Documented Goals-of-Care Discussion
n = 286
p
Age, mean (range) 60.2 (21–93) 60.7 (21–90) 59.9 (22–93) 0.482
Female sex 252 (51) 103 (50) 149 (52) 0.646
Race/Ethnicity
 Caucasian 303 (62) 122 (60) 181 (64) 0.512
 African American 143 (29) 59 (29) 84 (30)  
 Latino/Hispanic 23 (5) 13 (6) 10 (4)  
 Asian 9 (2) 5 (2) 4 (1)  
 Other 8 (2) 4 (2) 4 (1)  
Primary cancer diagnosis
 Gastrointestinal 112 (23) 61 (30) 51 (18) 0.009
 Genitourinary 91 (19) 40 (19) 51 (18)  
 Breast 87 (18) 25 (12) 62 (22)  
 Lung 80 (16) 38 (18) 42 (15)  
 Head and Neck 53 (11) 17 (8) 36 (13)  
 Melanoma 33 (7) 10 (5) 23 (8)  
 Neuro 13 (3) 5 (2) 8 (3)  
 Other 23 (5) 10 (5) 13 (5)  
Primary reason for hospitalization
 Acute medical illness 267 (54) 105 (51) 162 (57) 0.525
 Uncontrolled symptoms 168 (34) 73 (35) 95 (33)  
 Failure to thrive 35 (7) 18 (9) 17 (6)  
 Acute confusion/ delirium 21 (4) 10 (5) 11 (4)  
Other 1 (0.2) 0 (0) 1 (0.4)  
Comorbidity (CCI)**, mean (range) 6.9 (2–15) 6.9 (2–13) 6.8 (2–15) 0.318
Nutritional insufficiency diagnosed within 3 days of hospitalization 226 (46) 115 (56) 111 (39) < 0.001
 Malnutrition 171 (35) 91 (44) 80 (28) < 0.001
 Unplanned weight loss 155 (32) 78 (38) 77 (27) 0.010
 Failure to thrive 60 (12) 36 (17) 24 (8) 0.002
 Cachexia 40 (8) 31 (15) 9 (3) < 0.001
Serum albumin level within 3 days of hospitalization*, mean g/dL (range) 3.2 (1.2–5.4) 3.1 (1.2–4.8) 3.3 (1.7–5.4) < 0.001
Length of stay, days mean (range) 5.2 (0–57) 6.2 (0–48) 4.5 (0–57) 0.002
Deaths 156 (32) 110 (53) 46 (16) < 0.001
 Survival, days median (range) 28 (3–60) 27 (3–57) 33 (3–60) 0.152
  1. *missing for 14% of patients
  2. **CCI = Charleson Comorbidity Index; range 0–37; higher scores indicate higher disease burden