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.
To add to the dialogue regarding the long-term recovery and wellbeing of war and tsunami-affected women in Sri Lanka, we utilised the Conservation of Resources Theory (COR, Hobfoll, 2009) to inform an investigation of direct and indirect effects. The study was specifically designed to assess how traumatic exposure may represent a form of loss which may associate with related losses in the form of external and internal stigma which may then associate with poor mental health outcomes. The data for this study were collected in 2016 from a sample of 379 widowed women in Eastern Sri Lanka; participant spouses died in the civil war, in the tsunami, or from health or other problems. Our analyses yielded a model suggesting associations between remembered trauma event exposure from war and disaster, external stigma, internalised stigma and mental health symptom distress. Results further yielded direct and indirect effects suggesting that trauma may represent a form of loss, and potentially lead to distress through the weight and challenges of stigma.
Objectives: Discipline of palliative care is still evolving in developed parts of the world while it remains at an infantile stage in Sri Lanka which has not been formally assessed as of today. We aimed at evaluating the level of palliative care knowledge and opinions among young medical graduates. A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out among pre-residency medical graduates of Sri Lanka through a social media based online survey. The pre-tested questionnaire assessed the level of knowledge on general principles, service organization, clinical management and ethical considerations while it also evaluated their opinions.
Results: Response rate was 35.8% (n = 351). The average score among the respondents was 37.25% [standard deviation (SD) = 11.975]. Specific knowledge on “general principles” was adequate (score = 50%) with an average of 62.61%, SD = 24.5 while “ethics” was observed to be the area with the poorest knowledge (average score = 19.55%, SD = 22). Average scores for “service organization” and “managerial aspects” were 34.54%, SD = 17.6 and 32.26%, SD = 22.3, respectively. The majority (> 90%) believed that de-novo establishment of hospice, hospital and community-based palliative services would sustainably improve holistic patient care. Measures must be taken to optimize basic palliative care knowledge among the undergraduates in view of achieving Universal Health Coverage in the long term.
OBJECTIVE: In this study, we applied conservation of resources theory (Hobfoll, 1989) to explain high rates of depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) among war- and disaster-affected Tamil widows in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. We hypothesized exposure to potentially traumatic events and severity of current contextual problems would influence PTSS and depressive symptoms directly and indirectly through loss of psychological (view of self), environmental (sense of community), and energy (physical health) resources.
METHOD: Trained research assistants interviewed a convenience sample (N = 381) of women, using established measures of the constructs of interest. Data were analyzed using path analysis in MPlus. The significance of the indirect effects was tested using bootstrapping.
RESULTS: The model had an acceptable fit (χ2 = 4.06, df = 1, p < .05; Log Likelihood = -3344.26*; AIC = 6760.59; BIC = 6894.64; RMSEA = 0.09; CFI = .99; TLI = .91; SRMR = .02) and explained approximately 38% of the variance in both PTSS and depression. Contextual problems were significantly associated with PTSS and depression both directly and indirectly through deleterious effects on view of self, health status, and sense of community. Degree of trauma exposure was directly associated with indicators of distress.
CONCLUSION: Results support the utility of COR theory in this context and hold implications for research and program development.