Background: A systematic understanding of socio-economic inequalities in end-of-life (EOL) suffering among advanced cancer patients is required to inform efforts to reduce these inequalities as part of Universal Health Coverage goals.
Aims: To assess inequalities in multiple domains of EOL suffering among advanced cancer patients – physical, functional, psychological, social, and spiritual –, using two socio-economic status (SES) indicators, education and perceived economic status of the household.
Methods: We used cross-sectional data from surveys of stage IV cancer patients (n = 1378) from seven hospitals across five countries (China, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam and Myanmar). We conducted separate multivariable linear regression models for each EOL suffering domain. We also tested interactions between the two SES indicators and between each SES indicator and patient age.
Results: Patients living in low economic status households /with fewer years of education reported greater suffering in several domains. We also found significant interaction effects between economic status of the household and years of education for all EOL suffering outcomes. Age significantly moderated the association between economic status of the household and social suffering and between years of education and psychological, social, and spiritual suffering (p < 0.05 for all).
Conclusion: Results highlight that SES inequalities in EOL suffering vary depending on the suffering domain, the SES indicator assessed, and by patient age. Greater palliative care resources for patients with low SES may help reduce these inequalities.
Objective: To investigate doctors’ feelings when providing medical care to end-stage patients, and their understanding as well as reflection about theoretical concepts of palliative medicine.
Methods: Questionnaires were delivered through a social networking platform to 1500 clinicians of different specialties in 10 proviences of China. It covered issues of background information, self-assessment of familiarity to palliative care, prior training history, emotional attitude toward end-stage patients, and the reflections on clinical practice. Logistic regression analysis and chi-square test were used to analyse the categorical variables.
Results: There were 379 clinicians who completed the questionnaires and submitted successfully. Among them, 66.8% (253/379) had attended palliative care training courses more than twice; 66.8% (253/379) clinicians percieved powerless feeling when facing end-stage patients. We found that the education on palliative medicine was significantly associated to doctors’ better comprehension on the concept of palliative care (OR=6.923, P=0.002). Doctors who were more familiar with palliative medicine were less likely to perceive powerless feelings ( 2=13.015, P<0.001), and would be more likely to concern about patients and their family members in their clinical work ( 2=28.754, P<0.001, 2=24.406, P<0.001). Conclusion The powerless feeling is prevalent in Chinese doctors when facing end-stage patients. Palliative care help them overcome the negative feelings and act more caring in clinic. More careful designed educational strategies that adapt to Chinese actual situation are needed to improve doctors’ cognition on palliative care.
The establishment and development of volunteer team are very important in the whole process of palliative care. The concept and practice of palliative care have been developed in Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH) since the end of 2012. Great progress has been made in different aspects. Volunteers play an extremely important role in the development of palliative care in PUMCH. The whole work began with the establishment of volunteer teams. This article introduces the process of the establishment and development of palliative care volunteer team in PUMCH, aiming to provide practical references for hospitals in mainland China to develop their own palliative care volunteer team.
The locations and modalities of palliative care services to patients with severe/end-stage illness can be diverse, ranging from general hospitals to home-based care. The concept of palliative care hasn't been fully applied to medical practice by care providers in mainland China, where the seriously ill or terminal patients mainly receive medical care in hospitals. The implementation of palliative care in medical practice has developed greatly in Peking Union Medical College hospital in terms of clinical patient care, education, and research. This article gives an overview of it, and the experiences in team building, promotion, support seaking and fund raising were also discussed in this article. We hope to explore an effective dilivering model of palliative care for end-stage patients that is adaptive to Chinese culture and social environment.
As one of the methods of palliative care, aromatherapy has been applied gradually in clinical nursing work in China in recent years. Through aromatherapy, terminal cancer patients can get not only relieves of physical symptoms, but also spiritual relaxation and peace, thus have improved quality of life at the end stage. In this paper, we report in detail about how aromatherapy was applied for symptom control in a cancer patient with unknown primary malignancy and multiple metastasis and its effects on the terminal life of this patient.
Objective: The in-hosptial palliative care consultation (PCC) is emerging as a routine service in some medical center in China. The current study evaluated how physicians in primary care team and consultation team perceive the PCC service for the purpose of investigating the effectiveness of this consultation model in a general hospital.
Methods: In-hosptial palliative care consultations have been carried out at Peking Union Medical College Hosptial by a dedicated consultation team, and 37 consultations were completed in 2016. A questionnaire was designed for physicians in terms of its benefits to patients,their family as well as the primary care team. Physicians who applied for consultation in 2016 formally (requested from the department other than the Geriatrics) and informally (by rotating residents and unemployed visiting doctors in geriatric department) were invited to participate in the survey by scanning a two dimentional code on social networking platform.
Results: There were 103 physicians participated in the survey, including primary care physicians from the department of Internal Medicine (n=8), Gynaecology (n=16) and Surgery (n=13), rotating residents (n=30), visiting doctors (n=16) in Geriatric department, and PCC team members (n=20). 94.0% of the non-PCC physicians agreed that PCC relieved the suffering of patients; 89.2% thought PCC improved the quality of patients' life; there were 91.6%, 95.2%, 90.4% physicians who felt it relieved the anxiety of patients, of family members and of care providers, respectively. There were 96.4% physicians who felt it could ease the tension in physician-patient relationship; 97.6% felt it lower the risk for medical negligence, and 96.4% of doctors who applied for PPC felt satisfied with PCC service in terms of process and achieving objectives of consultation. More primary-team physician agree "PCC service helps the physicians better understand palliative care" than PCC members (97.6% vs. 80%, P<0.05), while both were interested in learning more on palliative medicine (100% vs. 96.4%, P>0.05).
Conclusion: Palliative care consultation service in a general hospital is efficacious and acclaimed.The primary care physicians and the PCC members hold positive attitudes to the benefits that the PCC services bring to patients, family members, and physicians themselves. PCC for terminal patients in a general hospital may serve as a good modle for promotion of palliative care in China.