Objectives: Palliative care addresses the suffering of patients and families affected by progressive illness through the management of medical symptoms, psychosocial issues, and spiritual concerns. Although there is an emerging interest in applying palliative care to Parkinson's disease (PD), potential palliative care needs have not been systematically investigated in PD patients. Our primary objective was to determine the prevalence of clinically significant symptomatic, psychosocial, and spiritual issues in PD and understand their impact on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Secondary objectives included comparing the level of palliative care needs of PD patients to advanced cancer patients and assessing preferences for advance care planning.
Methods: Ninety PD patients and 47 patients with advanced cancer were surveyed regarding potential palliative care needs, including symptom burden, mood, anticipatory grief, and spiritual well-being. PD patients completed additional scales regarding HRQOL, motor symptoms, cognitive impairment, and preferences regarding advance care planning.
Results: Potential palliative care needs, including high symptom burden and grief, were common in PD patients and contributed to HRQOL even when controlling for depression and motor severity. In all domains investigated, PD patients had similar or higher levels of palliative care needs as patients with advanced cancer. PD patients expressed a desire to complete advance directives early in the disease course and with a physician.
Conclusions: Palliative care needs contribute to HRQOL in PD and are of similar severity as cancer patients. This study supports and helps focus efforts to integrate palliative care principles in PD care across the spectrum of the disease.
BACKGROUND: There is increasing interest in applying palliative care approaches for patients with Parkinson's disease. Methodological studies are needed to validate palliative care outcome measures for Parkinson's disease to build this evidence base. As many patients with Parkinson's disease have cognitive and/or communication issues, proxy outcome measures may improve the inclusivity and relevance of research.
AIM: To assess the validity of proxy caregiver reports for several potential palliative care outcome measures.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional study of Parkinson's disease patients and caregivers completed a battery of outcome measures relevant to palliative care including the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Prolonged Grief Questionnaire 12, Parkinson Disease Questionnaire 39, Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Wellbeing, and Schwab and England. Intraclass correlation coefficients were used to assess agreement.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A total of 50 Parkinson's disease patient and caregiver dyads recruited at an academic medical center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and community support groups.
RESULTS: There was moderate to good agreement for Schwab and England, Parkinson Disease Questionnaire 39 total, and majority of Parkinson Disease Questionnaire 39 subscales; moderate to good agreement for the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Wellbeing, Prolonged Grief Questionnaire 12, and Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale; and poor to moderate agreement for the Parkinson Disease Questionnaire 39 stigma, social support, and bodily pain subscales. Caregivers tended to attribute higher symptom severity than patients. We did not detect differences in intraclass correlation coefficient based on cognitive status but patients with advanced illness had significantly lower intraclass correlation coefficients for several outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: Caution is indicated when considering caregiver proxy reporting for most outcomes assessed, particularly in Parkinson's disease patients with advanced disease.