Background: Some terminal cancer patients wish to â€œgo to a memorable placeâ€ or â€œreturn home.â€ However, owing to various symptom burdens and physical dysfunction, these wishes are difficult for them to realize.
Objective: The aim of the study is to verify whether simulated travel using virtual reality (VR travel) is efficacious in improving symptoms in terminal cancer patients.
Design: This is a prospective, multicenter, single-arm study.
Setting/Subjects: Twenty participants with terminal cancer were recruited from two palliative care wards; data were collected from November 2017 to April 2018.
Measurements: The VR software Google Earth VR® was used. The primary endpoint was the change in the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System scores for each symptom before and after VR travel.
Results: The average age of the participants was 72.3 (standard deviation [SD] = 11.9) years. Significant improvements were observed for pain (2.35, SD = 2.25 vs. 1.15, SD = 2.03, p = 0.005), tiredness (2.90, SD = 2.71 vs. 1.35, SD = 1.90, p = 0.004), drowsiness (2.70, SD = 2.87 vs. 1.35, SD = 2.30, p = 0.012), shortness of breath (1.74, SD = 2.73 vs. 0.35, SD = 0.99, p = 0.022), depression (2.45, SD = 2.63 vs. 0.40, SD = 0.82, p = 0.001), anxiety (2.60, SD = 2.64 vs. 0.80, SD = 1.51, p < 0.001), and well-being (4.50, SD = 2.78 vs. 2.20, SD = 1.99, p < 0.001; pre- vs. post-VR travel score, respectively). No participants complained of serious side effects.
Conclusions: This preliminary study suggests that VR travel can be efficacious and safe for terminal cancer patients for improving symptom burden.
OBJECTIVE: Little is known about the associations between family satisfaction with end-of-life care and caregiver burden. We conducted a researcher-assisted questionnaire survey to clarify the impact of caregiver burden on family satisfaction and to determine the types of burden that decrease family satisfaction.
METHOD: Bereaved family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer who received our outreach palliative care service were retrospectively identified. Family satisfaction with the end-of-life care provided by the palliative care service and caregiver burden were quantified using the Japanese versions of the FAMCARE Scale and the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI), respectively.
RESULTS: Our study subjects included 23 family caregivers. The mean scores on the FAMCARE Scale and the ZBI for the total population were 72.8 ± 11.2 and 22.8 ± 17.3, respectively, indicating moderate-to-high satisfaction and low-to-moderate burden. Caregiver burden had a strong negative correlation to family satisfaction with end-of-life care (Spearman's rho [ ] = -0.560, p = 0.005), which remained after adjustment for potential confounders (standardized beta [ß] = -0.563, p = 0.01). Several burden itemsâ€”including loss of control, personal time, social engagement with others, feeling angry with the patient, feeling that the patient wants more help than he/she needs, and a wish to leave the care to someone elseâ€”were associated with decreased satisfaction. The major cause of dissatisfaction for family members included the information provided regarding prognosis, family conferences with medical professionals, and the method of involvement of family members in care decisions.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Caregiver burden can be a barrier to family satisfaction with end-of-life care at home. A home care model focused on caregiver burden could improve end-of-life experiences for patients and family caregivers.
Background: Bleeding and obstruction are common localized symptoms in patients with unresectable gastric cancer. Although there are several reports about surgical and endoscopic therapies for gastric cancer, there are few regarding palliative radiation therapy.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed data for 23 gastric cancer patients who underwent palliative radiation between April 2006 and March 2014, with either localized bleeding (n = 18) or upper gastric obstruction (n = 10).
Results: The median (range) total dose and fraction (Fr) of radiotherapy (RT) were 42 (18–60) Gy and 20 (9–30) Fr, respectively. The response rates were 88.8% (bleeding) and 80% (obstruction). The median event-free survival times of the bleeding and obstruction groups from the start of radiation were 103 and 104 days, respectively. Adverse events with RT and chemo-radiotherapy (CRT) were grade 2 nausea (n = 4) and grade 2 esophagitis (n = 3) and grade 2 neutropenia (n = 3). In univariate analysis, the antrum as the gastric primary site (p = 0.063) and peritoneal metastasis (p = 0.054) occurred more frequently in the non-responders (n = 4) than the responders (n = 19).
BACKGROUND: Although place of death has been recognized as a risk factor in caregivers' bereavement adjustment, the estimation of the effect of the place of death needs careful consideration about many potential cofounders.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: This study was a nationwide cross-sectional questionnaire survey for bereaved family caregivers of patients with cancer who died in 3 settings: (1) hospice at home; (2) palliative care units (PCUs); and (3) acute hospitals. We assessed bereaved caregivers' depression, grief, insomnia, and the quality of dying of deceased patients across the 3 groups using propensity score weighting.
RESULTS: A total of 8968 responses were analyzed. According to scores on Patient Health Questionnaire 9, depressive symptoms were significantly higher in bereaved caregivers of patients who had died in acute hospitals (5.7; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.3-6.2) than for those of patients who had died in hospice at home (4.8; 95% CI: 4.4-5.1) or PCU (5.1; 95% CI: 5.0-5.2). Grief symptoms measured by Brief Grief Questionnaire were also significantly higher in caregivers of patients who had died in acute hospitals (5.0; 95% CI: 4.8-5.2) than those of patients who had died in hospice at home (4.7; 95% CI: 4.5-4.9) or PCU (4.7; 95% CI: 4.7-4.8). Deceased patients' quality of dying was highest in hospice at home, and worst in acute hospital.
CONCLUSIONS: The place where a cancer patient dies influences not only their quality of dying and death but also the mental health of their family caregivers. However, the absolute difference is not large after adjustment of multiple variables.