Palliative care offers patients with a serious illness and their families access to services that can improve quality of life, mood, and symptoms. However, the term palliative care is often confused with end of life or hospice services limiting its application to persons with chronic illnesses who might benefit. Non-hospice palliative care is a term that is emerging to more accurately reflect the broader care model that palliative care represents. The aim of this review was to identify the characteristics of published nonhospice palliative care interventions. We derived our sample predominantly from a recently published systematic review and meta-analysis and selected studies published since the review. Inclusion criteria were: self-described palliative care intervention studies using randomized designs for participants with lifelimiting illnesses aged 18 years or older. These 38 studies fell into 3 broad categories: primary, specialty, and hybrid models. Common challenges among these models include limited education of generalists, limited reimbursement, and limited access in certain areas. However, increasing palliative care usage has also been associated with increased hospice use and appropriate timing of referrals.
Aims: There is a lack of data on physical functional status near death of patients with different types of dementia that can contribute to decisions about what kind of care is needed. The aim of this study was to investigate the course of functional status along with the documented reasons for death in participants with dementia who had regularly been followed at a geriatric outpatient unit.
Setting and Design: A retrospective observational cohort study was done using the database of a geriatric outpatient clinic.
Subjects and Methods: Sociodemographic and medical records of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), vascular dementia, mixed dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)/Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD) who had received routine care in a geriatrics outpatient setting for a minimum of 12 months before death were analyzed. Scores for activities of daily living and documented probable causes of death were recorded.
Results: Of the 258 participants, 111 (42 female and 69 male) were included in this study. AD was the leading cause of dementia (51.8%). The median duration of survival with dementia was 4 years. The leading causes of death were cardiovascular disease (CVD) (27.0%) and dementia (27.0%) followed by infections (21.6%) and stroke (10.8%). Disability was the highest in patients with DLB/PDD.
Conclusions: This study found relatively shorter survival after the diagnosis of dementia when compared to other populations. CVD still appeared as a major cause of that in this particular disease. Most debilitating type of dementia was DLB/PDD.
Background: Advance directives (ADs) are seldom discussed between primary care physicians (PCPs) and their patients, especially those with noncancer diseases. The aim was to identify the factors associated with discussing AD by noncancer patients with their physicians.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in a hospital or clinic from October to December 2017. Physicians chose eligible noncancer patients aged 20 years or older to respond to an anonymous self-completed questionnaire inquiring about the objective variable "I want to discuss AD with my doctor," as well as basic characteristics, and facilitators and barriers to discussing AD identified in previous studies. The physicians responded to a survey comprising the Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) and inquiring about the disease category for each patient. Data were analyzed using binomial logistic regression analysis.
Results: A total of 270 patients (valid response rate, 79.6%) were included. Multivariate analysis identified a period of visit to the study site = 3 years (odds ratio [OR], 2.07; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-4.10), physicians who are very good at taking care of patients’ disease (OR, 12.68; 95% CI, 1.12-143.22), and patients’ worry about their quality of life (QOL) in the future (OR, 2.69; 95% CI, 1.30-5.57) as facilitators for discussing AD with physicians, and PPS = 90 (OR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.26-0.98) as a barrier.
Conclusions: Our study indicates that patients' future QOL concerns, a long period of visit to a hospital, and the presence of physical symptoms were associated with the willingness of noncancer patients to discuss AD with PCPs.
CONTEXT: Palliative care in oncology provides multiple benefits, however access to specialty palliative clinicians is limited in community cancer centers. Individual support services are more often available, but little is known on the utilization and impact of these services.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the utilization of outpatient support services in the advanced cancer population and the association with ED and hospital use in a community setting.
METHODS: A retrospective chart review of 314 patients with advanced cancer of lung, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and gynecologic origin was conducted. Data collected included demographics, descriptive data, type and number of support services (symptom management, nurse navigator, social worker, nutrition, financial counselor, chaplain, and oncology clinical counselor) within 90 days of diagnosis and descriptions of ED visits/hospitalizations within 12 months of diagnosis. Support services were available to patients by referral.
RESULTS: 29.6% of patients were deceased within 6 months and were considered to have severe disease. Patients with severe disease had a significantly greater mean number of support services than patients with non-severe disease (8.9 vs 6.0, p=0.001) and had a greater mean number of visits per year to the ED (6.4 vs 1.8, p<0.001). A greater proportion of patients with severe disease had palliative consultations (48.9% vs 21.7%, p<0.001), but 65.5% of palliative consultations occurred after an ED or hospital visit.
CONCLUSION: Our data demonstrated that advanced cancer patients with severe disease had increased healthcare utilization in all areas measured. Despite high utilization, outpatient support services used in a reactive manner were not effective in reducing ED or hospital visits.
BACKGROUND: Women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) experience unique symptom management and psychosocial needs due to aggressive, yet palliative treatment with a progressive, chronic illness.
OBJECTIVE: This article describes the effect of a quality improvement project for coordination of supportive care in MBC. Program evaluations included referral rates for supportive services, patient-reported outcomes of symptom distress, generalized anxiety, and overall well-being.
DESIGN: An interdisciplinary Support, Education and Advocacy Program (MBC-SEA) was developed. The 1-hour, weekly, patient review included collaborative assessments to determine needs for social service, psychological counseling, and palliative care. A prospective pre- and postexperimental cohort design with convenience sampling was used. Analysis was conducted with paired t test analysis of pre- and postimplementation outcomes.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Program outcomes of 118 women with MBC visiting an urban outpatient breast cancer clinic during September 2016 to November 2016 (pre) and January 2017 to March 2017 (post) were evaluated.
MEASUREMENTS: Referral rates to social work and palliative care, symptom, anxiety, and overall well-being scores.
RESULTS: Following program implementation, referrals to palliative care and social work supportive services increased significantly including patient-reported outcomes symptom distress scores mean difference 1.4 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.4306-2.6428), P = .004; generalized anxiety scores mean difference 1.5 (95% CI: 0.5406-2.5781), P = .003; and overall well-being mean difference of -0.7 (95% CI: -1.3498 to -0.0570), P = .03.
CONCLUSIONS: Purposeful nurse-led assessment for social service and palliative care needs increases referrals with improvement in patient-reported outcomes.
Palliative care (PC) is an interdisciplinary team approach to address patients’ physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs to improve quality of life among those who have faced a life-threatening illness. When PC services are provided in an outpatient setting, patients can stay in their homes and have all their physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs met by a comprehensive health care team to ensure a good quality of life. Because outpatient PC clinics offer a viable option for delivering PC in communities but are not prevalent in the US health care system and were rarely described in the literature, this article has described the development and evaluation of an outpatient PC clinic that was dedicated to integrating spiritual care. Specifically, this article describes (1) the factors prompting development of the clinic and its growth, (2) how a chaplain was integrated into the PC provision process, and (3) the processes and outcomes of evaluation of this clinic.
PURPOSE: Early integration of outpatient palliative care (OPC) benefits patients with advanced cancer and also the health care systems in which these patients are seen. Successful development and implementation of models of OPC require attention to the needs and values of both the patients being served and the institution providing service.
SUMMARY: In the 2016 clinical guideline, ASCO recommended integrating palliative care early in the disease trajectory alongside cancer-directed treatment. Despite strong endorsement and robust evidence of benefit, many patients with cancer lack access to OPC. Here we define different models of care delivery in four successful palliative care clinics in four distinct health care settings: an academic medical center, a safety net hospital, a community health system, and a hospice-staffed clinic embedded in a community cancer center. The description of each clinic includes details on setting, staffing, volume, policies, and processes.
CONCLUSION: The development of robust and capable OPC clinics is necessary to meet the growing demand for these services among patients with advanced cancer. This summary of key aspects of functional OPC clinics will enable health care institutions to evaluate their specific needs and develop programs that will be successful within the environment of an individual institution.
Access to hospice care is widely provided in Western countries, but the supply of such service is still in its initiative stage in China. As relatives are often involved in end-of-life decision making in China, a better understanding of their cognitions toward hospice care would help policy makers and physicians to overcome the barriers of providing such service. Thus, we conducted the study to assess the level of knowledge and attitudes among Chinese outpatients and family members regarding hospice care.A cross-sectional study was conducted in Peking University Third Hospital and Peking University Shougang Hospital. Trained interviewers recruited outpatients or family members in two hospitals as a convenience sample to complete an anonymous face-to-face survey on demographic information, knowledge, and attitudes regarding hospice care.A total of 550 respondents completed this survey. Only 107 (19.5%) reported that they had known or heard of hospice care, with a mean knowledge score of 2.8 (standard deviation = 1.6). Of the respondents, 69.5% answered "strongly agree" or "agree" regarding the importance of providing hospice care in China. Participants who had known of hospice care were more likely to have favorite attitudes toward it.The awareness rate of hospice care is low in the study, which may lead to poor attitude and low enrollment rate. Considering the increasing evidence to support the improved outcomes of patients and family members associated with hospice care, the public education on its scope of services, benefits, and limitations is needed in China.
INTRODUCTION: Systematic integration of palliative care in a surgical setting is important, but has yet to be achieved. Despite evidence of early palliative care improving patients' quality of life, hospice utilization remains low. Through an integrated palliative care-urology clinic, we aim to assess the effect of early outpatient palliative care on hospice utilization, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and satisfaction in patients with advanced urological cancers.
METHODS: Participants were recruited from 2012 through 2016 in the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Hospital. We partnered with palliative care clinicians to develop an integrated urology-palliative care clinic, where participants were seen by the palliative care team on the same day as their urological visit. The 12-item Short-Form Survey, Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire Short-Form, Patient Health Questionnaire, and Brief Pain Inventory were administered at initial and subsequent visits. Follow-up questionnaire results were compared between baseline and the 2 follow-up visits, and hospice utilization rates were assessed.
RESULTS: Fifty-three participants completed baseline questionnaires. Of those 22 (42%) patients completed at least one follow-up assessment. The median time for the first and second follow-up visits was 2.9 and 7.8 months, respectively. There were no significant differences in HRQOL and satisfaction between baseline and subsequent follow-up visits. A total of 36 (68%) of 53 participants who were enrolled at the start of the study were deceased. Of those, 29 (81%) expired within a home or inpatient hospice.
CONCLUSIONS: Rates of hospice use were high in an integrated palliative care-urology model. Health-related quality of life and satisfaction did not worsen over time.
Cancer pain is an unrelenting symptom with the potential to alter the quality of life of patients. To adequately manage pain, nurses caring for cancer patients need to fully understand each patient's pain experience. The purpose of this study was to identify the intensity, distress, frequency, or constancy of pain in patients treated for cancer or cancer symptoms and to better understand patient barriers to pain management. This cross-sectional study included patients (N = 105) treated for cancer or cancer symptoms at 2 outpatient medical centers. Assessments included the Pain Barriers Scale, the Cancer Symptom Scale, and the Multidimensional QOL Scale–Cancer. Descriptive statistics and Spearman correlations were used to analyze the data. Sixty-nine percent of patients reported present pain of moderate to severe intensity that caused distress, was frequent/constant, or interfered with their lives. Patients with the greatest pain distress reported the greatest intensity of pain (r = 0.77) and the greatest interference (r = 0.78) with daily lives. Cancer pain was associated with significant distress and interference with life activities and occurred frequently or constantly for many study patients.
Background: Accurate pain assessment in elderly population is essential for pain management and nurses have a pivotal role. The 11-face Faces Pain Scale (FPS-11) is a well-established pain assessment measure that has not been validated in the Iranian elderly.
Aim: The aim was to study the property assessment of the Iranian version of FPS-11 (FPS-11-IR) among elderly outpatients with chronic pain.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional validation study that conducted in three outpatient clinics in Tehran, Iran, in 2017. Older people aged = 60 years (n = 217) with chronic knee pain due to degenerative joint disease were participated. The construct validity was examined by applying contrast constructs, and the face validity was determined by rank-ordering test. To assess concurrent validity, the Spearman's correlation coefficient was calculated between the scores of 11-point Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) and FPS-11-IR. Test-retest reliability was determined in 1-week interval.
Results: Most of elderly participants (72%) agreed that pain construct displays in faces of the FPS-11-IR and participants" agreement on face rank ordering were vary for each face, ranging from 80% to 100%. Spearman's correlation coefficient between FPS-11-IR and NRS scores was very strong (r = 0.91, P < 0.01). Intraclass correlation coefficient between test-retest scores was 0.96 that indicates excellent reliability.
Conclusions: The FPS-11-IR is a reliable and valid pain assessment scale to use in geriatric patients chronic pain.
Context: Spirituality is the essence of a human being. Patients who have good spiritual well-being (SWB) will also have better quality of life. However, health-care providers usually under-assess this aspect due to lack of practical guideline. In Thailand, the validated survey came from a different cultural background and was heavily based on Buddhism approach.
Aims: The aim of the study is to assess the meaning of spirituality and SWB in Thai breast cancer patients in Southern Thailand where people have more diverse cultural and religious background.
Settings and Design: Descriptive qualitative phenomenology design.
Subjects and Methods: In-depth interview with stratified purposive sampling method. The interviews took place in the oncology outpatient unit department and participants' home. Inclusion criteria were being diagnosed with breast cancer, age over 18 years old, able to communicate in Thai, has a Palliative Performance Scale more than 50, and was not diagnosed with any psychological disorder.
Statistical Analysis Used: Descriptive statistic.
Results: From October 2016 to February 2018, 16 women joined the study. Three themes emerged with five subthemes: (1) feeling life worthwhile, (2) sense of belonging in the community, and (3) feeling connected to the nature.
Conclusions: For Thai women, who have breast cancer, their spirituality focuses on family, mainly their children. They also have better SWB if they have good family relationship, social support, or feeling connected with nature or higher being in a religious or nonreligious way. Future survey design needs to be broader in a secular view and on another perspective rather than the religious approach.
Importance High-quality conversations between clinicians and seriously ill patients about values and goals are associated with improved outcomes but occur infrequently.
Objective To examine feasibility, acceptability, and effect of a communication quality-improvement intervention (Serious Illness Care Program) on patient outcomes.
Design, Setting, and Participants A cluster randomized clinical trial of the Serious Illness Care Program in an outpatient oncology setting was conducted. Patients with advanced cancer (n = 278) and oncology clinicians (n = 91) participated between September 1, 2012, and June 30, 2016. Data analysis was performed from September 1, 2016, to December 27, 2018. All analyses were conducted based on intention to treat.
Interventions Tools, training, and system changes.
Main Outcomes and Measures The coprimary outcomes included goal-concordant care (Life Priorities) and peacefulness (Peace, Equanimity, and Acceptance in the Cancer Experience questionnaire) at the end of life. Secondary outcomes included therapeutic alliance (Human Connection Scale), anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 scale), depression (Patient Health Questionnaire 9), and survival. Uptake and effectiveness of clinician training, clinician use of the conversation tool, and conversation duration were evaluated.
Results Data from 91 clinicians in 41 clusters (72.9% participation; intervention, n = 48; control, n = 43; 52 [57.1%] women) and 278 patients (45.8% participation; intervention, n = 134; control, n = 144; 148 [53.2%] women) were analyzed. Forty-seven clinicians (97.9%) rated the training as effective (mean [SD] score, 4.3 [0.7] of 5.0 possible); of 39 who received a reminder, 34 (87.2%) completed at least 1 conversation (median duration, 19 minutes; range, 5-70). Peacefulness, therapeutic alliance, anxiety, and depression did not differ at baseline. The coprimary outcomes were evaluated in 64 patients; no significant differences were found between the intervention and control groups. However, the trial demonstrated significant reductions in the proportion of patients with moderate to severe anxiety (10.2% vs 5.0%; P = .05) and depression symptoms (20.8% vs 10.6%; P = .04) in the intervention group at 14 weeks after baseline. Anxiety reduction was sustained at 24 weeks (10.4% vs 4.2%; P = .02), but depression reduction was not sustained (17.8% vs 12.5%; P = .31). Survival and therapeutic alliance did not differ between groups.
Conclusions and Relevance The results of this cluster randomized clinical trial were null with respect to the coprimary outcomes of goal-concordant care and peacefulness at the end of life. Methodologic challenges for the primary outcomes, including measure selection and sample size, limit the conclusions that can be drawn from the study. However, the significant reductions in anxiety and depression in the intervention group are clinically meaningful and require further study.
Importance Earlier clinician-patient conversations about patients’ values, goals, and preferences in serious illness (ie, serious illness conversations) are associated with better outcomes but occur inconsistently in cancer care.
Objective To evaluate the efficacy of a communication quality-improvement intervention in improving the occurrence, timing, quality, and accessibility of documented serious illness conversations between oncology clinicians and patients with advanced cancer.
Design, Setting, Participants This cluster randomized clinical trial in outpatient oncology was conducted at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and included physicians, advanced-practice clinicians, and patients with cancer who were at high risk of death.
Main Outcomes and Measures The primary outcomes (goal-concordant care and peacefulness at the end of life) are published elsewhere. Secondary outcomes are reported herein, including (1) documentation of at least 1 serious illness conversation before death, (2) timing of the initial conversation before death, (3) quality of conversations, and (4) their accessibility in the electronic medical record (EMR).
Results We enrolled 91 clinicians (48 intervention, 43 control) and 278 patients (134 intervention, 144 control). Of enrolled patients, 58% died during the study (n=161); mean age was 62.3 years (95% CI, 58.9-65.6 years); 55% were women (n=88). These patients were cared for by 76 of the 91 enrolled clinicians (37 intervention, 39 control); years in practice, 11.5 (95% CI, 9.2-13.8); 57% female (n=43). Medical record review after patients’ death demonstrated that a significantly higher proportion of intervention patients had a documented discussion compared with controls (96% vs 79%, P = .005) and intervention conversations occurred a median of 2.4 months earlier (median, 143 days vs 71 days, P < .001). Conversation documentation for intervention patients was significantly more comprehensive and patient centered, with a greater focus on values or goals (89% vs 44%, P < .001), prognosis or illness understanding (91% vs 48%, P < .001), and life-sustaining treatment preferences (63% vs 32%, P = .004). Documentation about end-of-life care planning did not differ between arms (80% intervention vs 68% control, P = .08). Significantly more intervention patients had documentation that was accessible in the EMR (61% vs 11%, P < .001).
Conclusions and Relevance This communication quality-improvement intervention resulted in more, earlier, better, and more accessible serious illness conversations documented in the EMR. To our knowledge, this is the first such study to demonstrate improvement in all 4 of these outcomes.
Introduction: Emergency department (ED)-initiated palliative care has been shown to improve patient-centred outcomes in older adults with serious, life-limiting illnesses. However, the optimal modality for providing such interventions is unknown. This study aims to compare nurse-led telephonic case management to specialty outpatient palliative care for older adults with serious, life-limiting illness on: (1) quality of life in patients; (2) healthcare utilisation; (3) loneliness and symptom burden and (4) caregiver strain, caregiver quality of life and bereavement.
Methods and analysis: This is a protocol for a pragmatic, multicentre, parallel, two-arm randomised controlled trial in ED patients comparing two established models of palliative care: nurse-led telephonic case management and specialty, outpatient palliative care. We will enrol 1350 patients aged 50+ years and 675 of their caregivers across nine EDs. Eligible patients: (1) have advanced cancer (metastatic solid tumour) or end-stage organ failure (New York Heart Association class III or IV heart failure, end-stage renal disease with glomerular filtration rate <15 mL/min/m2, or global initiative for chronic obstructive lung disease stage III, IV or oxygen-dependent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease); (2) speak English; (3) are scheduled for ED discharge or observation status; (4) reside locally; (5) have a working telephone and (6) are insured. Patients will be excluded if they: (1) have dementia; (2) have received hospice care or two or more palliative care visits in the last 6 months or (3) reside in a long-term care facility. We will use patient-level block randomisation, stratified by ED site and disease. Effectiveness will be compared by measuring the impact of each intervention on the specified outcomes. The primary outcome will measure change in patient quality of life.
Ethics and dissemination Institutional Review Board approval was obtained at all study sites. Trial results will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
BACKGROUND: Achieving a "good death" is a major goal of palliative care. Nurses play a key role in the end-of-life care of older patients. Understanding the perceptions of both older patients and nurses in this area could help improve care during this period.
OBJECTIVES: To examine and compare the preferences and perceptions of older patients and nurses with regard to what they feel constitutes a "good death."
RESEARCH DESIGN:: A cross-sectional study.
PARTICIPANTS AND RESEARCH CONTEXT: This study employed a self-report questionnaire that asked about various options for end-of-life care. It was distributed to older patients who attended the outpatient clinic of internal medicine and nurses who worked at two medical schools in Thailand from September 2017 to February 2018. Patients were asked to respond to the questions as if they were terminally ill, and nurses were asked to imagine how older patients would answer the questions.
ETHICAL CONSIDERATION: Approval from Institutional Review Board was obtained.
FINDINGS: A total of 608 patients and 665 nurses responded to the survey. Nurses agreed with concepts of palliative care, but they rated themselves as having poor knowledge. The patient respondents felt that it was most important that they receive the full truth about their illnesses (29.2%). The nurses thought the most important issue was relief of uncomfortable symptoms (25.2%). On seven out of the 13 questions, nurses overestimated the importance of the relevant issue to patients and underestimated the importance on one question (p < 0.05).
DISCUSSION: Both nurses and older patients signified concepts of palliative care, but nurses felt that they lacked adequate knowledge. Nurses estimated that patients would have positive attitudes toward autonomy and the closure of life affairs to a significantly greater degree than the patient respondents.
CONCLUSIONS: We recommend that palliative care education be improved and that steps be taken to allow for more effective nurse-patient communication with regard to the patients' end-of-life wishes.
AIMS: Numerous healthcare decisions are faced by persons with advanced cancer from diagnosis to end-of-life. The family caregiver role in these decisions has focused on being a surrogate decision-maker, however, little is known about the caregiver's role in supporting upstream patient decision-making. We aimed to describe the roles of family caregivers in assisting community-dwelling advanced cancer patients with healthcare decision-making across settings and contexts.
METHODS: Qualitative study using one-on-one, semi-structured interviews with community-dwelling persons with metastatic cancer (n = 18) and their family caregivers (n = 20) recruited from outpatient oncology clinics of a large tertiary care academic medical center, between October 2016 and October 2017. Transcribed interviews were analyzed using a thematic analysis approach.
FINDINGS: Caregivers averaged 56 years and were mostly female (95%), white (85%), and the patient's partner/spouse (70%). Patients averaged 58 years and were mostly male (67%) in self-reported "fair" or "poor" health (50%) with genitourinary (33%), lung (17%), and hematologic (17%) cancers. Themes describing family member roles in supporting patients' upstream healthcare decision-making were: 1) seeking information about the cancer, its trajectory, and treatments options; 2) ensuring family and healthcare clinicians have a common understanding of the patient's treatment plan and condition; 3) facilitating discussions with patients about their values and the framing of their illness; 5) posing "what if" scenarios about current and potential future health states and treatments; 6) addressing collateral decisions (e.g., work arrangements) resulting from medical treatment choices; 6) originating healthcare-related decision points, including decisions about seeking emergency care; and 7) making healthcare decisions for patients who preferred to delegate healthcare decisions to their family caregivers.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight a previously unreported and understudied set of critical decision partnering roles that cancer family caregivers play in patient healthcare decision-making. Optimizing these roles may represent novel targets for early decision support interventions for family caregivers.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study of post-treatment oral cavity cancer (OCC) patients was to identify factors associated with self-reported overall body image, perceived attractiveness, and dissatisfaction with body appearance.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study recruited patients with OCC from the outpatient radiation department of a single cancer center in northern Taiwan. Demographic and clinical characteristics were recorded, and patients were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), the University of Washington Quality of Life scale (UW-QOL), and the Body Image Scale (BIS).
RESULTS: A total of 168 patients were included in this current study, 76 females and 92 males. Negative overall body image was associated with greater degree of depression, greater fear of social interactions, poorer social-emotional function, receipt of surgery, female gender, and greater avoidance of social interaction; these factors explained 49.0% of the variance in this outcome measure. Poor perceived attractiveness was associated with greater depression, greater fear of social interaction, and receipt of surgery; these factors explained 25.4% of the variance in this outcome measure. Dissatisfaction with body appearance was associated with poor social-emotional function, greater fear of social interaction, receipt of reconstruction, advanced cancer stage, and female gender; these factors explained 52.2% of the variance in this outcome measure.
CONCLUSIONS: This study of post-treatment OCC patients indicated that depression and fear of social interaction strongly influenced overall body image, perceived attractiveness, and dissatisfaction with body appearance.
Background: Social support has been shown to buffer some difficulties of living with advanced cancer. The Palliative Rehabilitation Program (prp) was an interdisciplinary outpatient program offering post-treatment palliative rehabilitation to patients with advanced cancer. Social support was directly integrated into the program. The aim of the present study was to examine the types and sources of social support that patients found most beneficial.
Methods: Twelve patients participated in 30-minute semi-structured interviews. Thematic content analysis was used to explore the social support experiences of those patients in the prp. Patients were eligible to participate in the interview if they had completed the 8-week prp, spoke English, and did not have cognitive or auditory impairments affecting their ability to participate.
Results: The main sources of support reported by participants were team members and spouse, family, or close friends; peers attending the program; and spiritual beliefs. Social support varied based on sex and age, such that, compared with women, men reported relying less on social support, and the supportive needs of younger (=50 years of age) and older participants differed. Team members were endorsed as frequently as family as social support.
Discussion: Emotional support was endorsed with the greatest frequency. The members of the interdisciplinary care team were also providers of emotional and informational support for patients, bolstering the support received from caregivers. Widowed or divorced women might rely on health care providers more readily than do married men, who chose their wives as support. Future rehabilitation programs might consider the importance of an interdisciplinary team, the formal integration of caregivers, and the incorporation of spirituality to meet the unique supportive needs of patients with advanced cancer.