Background: Some terminal cancer patients wish to “go to a memorable place” or “return home.” 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.
Background: There is no established method to objectively predict short-term prognosis. Recently, we proposed objective, short-term, prognostic predictive methods that are combinations of laboratory test items: WPCBAL score, derived from six values (white blood cell, platelet, C-reactive protein, blood urea nitrogen, aspartate aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase). However, that study was conducted in an acute-phase hospital to identify the test items useful for prognostic prediction; thus, whether WPCBAL score could be applied to terminal cancer patients in a palliative care unit was unverified.
Objective: To verify the usefulness of WPCBAL score for terminal cancer patients.
Design: A retrospective study.
Setting/Subjects: Patients admitted to the palliative care unit of Ashiya Municipal Hospital (N = 128) in Japan in 2016.
Measurements: The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, accuracy, and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) were compared between WPCBAL score and the Glasgow prognostic score (GPS).
Results: For predicting three-week prognosis, WPCBAL score showed higher AUROC compared with GPS (0.7540 and 0.6573, respectively). WPCBAL score predicting two-week prognosis showed greater AUROC than GPS predicting three-week prognosis (0.7491 and 0.6573, respectively).
Conclusion: WPCBAL score was verified to objectively predict the two- or three-week prognosis for terminal cancer patients in a palliative care unit. WPCBAL score may be a new option for prognostic prediction for terminal cancer patients.
BACKGROUND: Few data are available on bereaved family members' perspective on the frequency of symptoms and degree of distress among terminal patients with cancer.
METHODS: We sent a questionnaire to 1472 bereaved family members of terminal patients with cancer in 20 general hospitals. The questionnaire asked them (1) to indicate which symptoms the patients had, (2) to rate on a 4-point scale the extent to which the symptom was distressing, as follows: 1 = not distressing, 2 = slightly distressing, 3 = quite distressing, and 4 = very distressing at the point of 2 weeks before the patient had died.
RESULTS: We analyzed 805 questionnaires for this study. Anorexia was the commonest symptom among terminal patients with cancer experienced by bereaved family members, followed by somnolence, weight loss, fatigue, and pain. Anorexia was the most distressing symptom among terminal patients with cancer experienced by bereaved family members, followed by weight loss, pain, edema, and dyspnea.
CONCLUSIONS: Anorexia and weight loss were frequent symptoms and bereaved family members felt very distressing. Furthermore, there are not means of effective treatment now. Thus, we think that further study in this field is necessary.
Background: Few studies have simultaneously collected quantitative data regarding the positive and negative effects of participating in post-bereavement surveys.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional postal questionnaire survey in October 2013. Potential participants were caregivers for family members who had died in four inpatient palliative care units, two home hospices, and a general hospital. We collected opinions regarding the distress and benefit of completing a post-bereavement survey. After collecting data, we provided feedback to participating institutions in the form of study results and de-identified open-ended comments.
Results: Of 692 potential participants, 596 were sent questionnaires; 393 returned questionnaires were valid and analyzed. Of the respondents, 62% reported being distressed by completing the questionnaire. Female participants and those who were mentally ill during the caregiving period reported more distress. However, 86% of respondents reported they found the questionnaire beneficial. Better quality of end-of-life care and respondent depression were associated with more benefit. Major benefits were: contributing to the development of end-of-life care as a family (63%); expressing gratitude to the hospital and medical staff (60%); and looking back and reflecting on the end-of-life period (40%). Feeling benefit was not correlated with feeling distressed (P = -0.02).
Conclusion: In this large-scale study on the effects of post-bereavement surveys in Japan, many bereaved family members reported that completing the survey was beneficial. In addition to possibly having feelings of distress, post-bereavement surveys might also be beneficial to end-of-life care facilities.
Background: In terminal phase cancer, predicting a prognosis precisely plays an important role for patients and their families to live meaningful lives. However, there are no established short-term, objective prognostic predictive methods.
Objective: To develop simple, short-term, objective prognostic predictive methods through detecting a change point for laboratory test values.
DESIGN: A retrospective chart review.
Setting/Subjects: Subjects were cancer patients aged =16 years and discharged dead from Osaka University Hospital in 2008.
Measurements: Using different laboratory test values, new prognostic predictive methods were determined based on either six laboratory test values (white blood cell [WBC], platelet [PLT], C-reactive protein, blood urea nitrogen [BUN], aspartate aminotransferase [AST], and lactase dehydrogenase [LDH]): the WPCBAL score, or five test values (WBC, PLT, BUN, AST, and LDH): the WPBAL score. Their utility, including sensitivity and specificity, was compared with that of Glasgow prognostic scores (GPSs).
Results: In total, 121 cancer patients were enrolled. WPCBAL and WPBAL scores showed higher sensitivity (0.88 and 0.91 vs. 0.68), specificity (0.79 and 0.70 vs. 0.53), negative predictive value (0.98 and 0.97 vs. 0.76), and a much larger relative risk (16.5 and 14.2 vs. 1.78) as prognostic predictors within two weeks of death than GPS as a prognostic predictor within three weeks of death.
Conclusion: This is the first study that suggests that the objective prognostic predictive methods, through detecting the change point of laboratory test values, are useful for predicting short-term prognosis. The WPCBAL score and WPBAL score could objectively predict the remaining lifetime within two weeks of mortality.