Background: Few studies have investigated the content of interventions provided in early specialised palliative care (SPC).
Objectives: To characterise the content of interventions delivered in early SPC in the Danish Palliative Care Trial (DanPaCT), a multicentre trial with six participating sites.
Methods: A retrospective qualitative and quantitative study coding all new interventions initiated by the palliative teams and documented in the medical records during the 8-week study period of DanPaCT. Interventions were categorised according to (a) symptom/problem prompting the intervention, (b) type of intervention and (c) professional(s) providing the intervention.
Results: In total, 145 patients were randomised to the SPC teams. According to the medical records, patients received a median of 3.5 (range 0–22) new interventions in the 8-week intervention-period from the palliative teams. For 24 (18%) of the patients there was no documented interventions in the medical records. The most frequent symptom/problems treated were pain, (100 interventions; 20% of interventions given) and impaired physical function (62; 13% of interventions given). The most frequent type of intervention was pharmacological (232; 42% of interventions given).
Conclusions: This is one of the first studies to meticulously investigate the content of interventions documented in the medical records for patients receiving early SPC. Diverse symptoms were treated with many different interventions. However, a relatively low number of interventions were documented. This may explain the lack of effect in DanPaCT but also questions whether all interventions were adequately documented
Trial registration number: NCT01348048
BACKGROUND: Early and integrated specialized palliative care is often recommended but has still only been investigated in relatively few randomized clinical trials.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of early specialized palliative care plus standard care versus standard care on the explorative outcomes in the Danish Palliative Care Trial (DanPaCT).
METHODS: We conducted a randomized multicentre, parallel-group clinical trial. Consecutive patients with metastatic cancer were included if they had symptoms or problems that exceeded a predefined threshold according to the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30). Outcomes were estimated as the differences between the intervention and the control groups in the change from baseline to the weighted mean of the 3- and 8-week follow-ups measured as areas under the curve.
RESULTS: In total, 145 patients were randomized to early specialized palliative care plus standard care versus 152 to standard care only. Early specialized palliative care had no significant effect on any of the symptoms or problems. Of the 21 items addressing satisfaction, specialized palliative care improved the item ‘overall satisfaction with the help received from the health care system’ with 9 points (95% confidence interval 3.8 to 14.2, p = 0.0006) and three other items (all p < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: In line with the analyses of the primary and secondary outcomes in DanPaCT, we did not find that specialized palliative care, as provided in DanPaCT, affected symptoms and problems. However, patients in the intervention group seemed more satisfied with the health care received than those in the standard care group.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01348048.
BACKGROUND: Advance care planning (ACP) has been suggested to improve the quality of life (QoL) and mental wellbeing in severely ill patients and their relatives.
AIM: To investigate the effects of ACP among patients with lung, heart and cancer diseases with an estimated life-span of up to 12 months.
METHODS: Patients and relatives were randomised into two groups: one receiving usual care and one receiving ACP and usual care. Themes from the ACP discussion were documented in patients' electronic medical file. Participants completed self-reported questionnaires four to five weeks after randomisation.
FINDINGS: In total, 141 patients and 127 relatives participated. No significant differences were found according to outcomes. However, patients with non-malignant diseases had the highest level of anxiety and depression; these patients seemed to benefit the most from ACP, though not showing statistically significant results.
CONCLUSION: No significant effects of ACP among patients with lung, heart, and cancer diseases and their relatives regarding HRQoL, anxiety, depression, and satisfaction with healthcare were found.
Purpose: This study aimed at expanding the knowledge of nausea in patients with advanced cancer by elucidating (a) the prevalences of patients having nausea, experiencing nausea as a problem, and having a need for help with their nausea, respectively, (b) determining variables associated with nausea, and (c) investigating the relation between nausea and the need for help regarding nausea.
Methods: In 2004–2006, the EORTC QLQ-C30 and the Three-Levels-of-Needs Questionnaire (3LNQ) were mailed to 2364 patients with advanced cancer who had been in contact with one of the 54 hospital departments within the past year. Further information was collected from medical records.
Results: Patient-response rate was 61%. Twenty-two percent reported having had some degree of nausea within the past week, with a mean nausea score of 10.4 and a two-item combined nausea and vomiting score of 7.5 (0–100, 100 = “very much”). Factors associated with nausea on the multivariate level were contact type (inpatient/outpatient) and treatment status (receiving ongoing oncologic treatment yes/no).
“Nausea intensity” and “nausea problem burden” showed acceptable abilities to distinguish between patients having or not having an unmet need for help regarding nausea with areas under the curve (AUCs) of 0.81 and 0.82, respectively.
Conclusions: Around one in four patients with advanced cancer reported nausea within the past week, highest in patients who were inpatients or undergoing active oncologic treatment. Almost all patients reporting nausea on the EORTC QLQ-C30 experienced this to be a problem, and the 3LNQ can therefore be restricted to cases where additional details are needed.