The need for improved clinical education surrounding the way difficult news is delivered and how to initiate end-of-life (EOL) discussions with seriously ill patients and their families is essential. Physicians and medical students often report feeling unprepared or uncomfortable with broaching the topic of death with their patients and families. Early and honest conversations with patients concerning diagnoses and advance directives help patients and their families make well-informed decisions regarding future medical care, minimize pain and fears, and allow patients to experience a "peaceful death." Moreover, end-of-life conversations frequently focus on resuscitation plans (advance directives), but should be broadened to include patients' psychosocial, physical, and economic concerns. Transparent, realistic, and sensitive end-of-life conversations can help patients maintain autonomy and dignity in the dying process and increase their quality of life as they near death. Additionally, initiating these conversations can alleviate emotional stress and physical symptoms, prevent invasive, costly, unnecessary, and unwanted care, aid grieving families through the bereavement process, and increase patients' satisfaction with end-of-life care provisions. Overall, more attention and training must be delivered to physicians so that they are better prepared to initiate end-of-life discussions in a patient-centered way, focusing on patients' values and priorities. Requiring a more in depth, developmentally appropriate, and standardized training in EOL and palliative care for physicians-in-training in all disciplines in medical education is necessary. Redesigning medical school EOL curriculum will ensure physicians are better prepared to discuss death and dying and to ensure that seriously ill patients are dying well-informed.
BACKGROUND: Family caregivers of patients with advanced cancer have been reported to provide long hours of care and be at risk for poor psychological outcomes. Although research has focused on the nature of caregiving burden, little attention has been paid to identifying protective factors that improve caregiver psychological outcomes.
AIM: We examined the relationship between caregivers' time spent caregiving and the following psychological outcomes: anxiety, depression and caregiving esteem. Subsequently, we explored the main and moderating effects of caregiver-perceived self-competency and sense of meaning on caregiver psychological outcomes.
DESIGN/PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional analysis was conducted using the baseline data from an ongoing cohort study. Family caregivers of advanced cancer patients (n=287) were recruited from two tertiary hospitals in Singapore.
RESULTS: Time spent caregiving was not significantly associated with caregiver anxiety, depression or caregiving esteem. However, significant main effects of self-competency on anxiety and caregiving esteem; and sense of meaning on anxiety, depression and caregiving esteem were observed. Moderator analyses further indicated that self-competency attenuated the positive relationship between time spent caregiving and anxiety, while sense of meaning attenuated the negative relationship between time spent caregiving and caregiving esteem.
CONCLUSION: Greater perceived self-competency and sense of meaning are related to better caregiver psychological outcomes, and protect caregivers from worsening outcomes as caregiving hours increase. Our findings suggest that screening caregivers for distress is an important part of care, and that supportive interventions for caregivers should aim to enhance their perceived caregiving competencies and the ability to make meaning of their caregiving role.
PURPOSE: This study evaluated the effect of early integrated palliative care (PC) in oncology on quality of life (QOL) near the end of life and use of health care resources near the end of life.
METHOD: Patients with advanced cancer and a life expectancy of approximately 1 year were randomly assigned to either early and systematic integration of PC into oncological care (intervention) or standard oncological care alone (control). QOL was assessed with the EORTC QLQ-C30 global health status/QOL scale and McGill Quality of Life (MQOL) Single Item Scale and Summary Scale at baseline, 12 weeks and 6 weekly thereafter until death. Use of health care resources was collected from chart review in patient's electronic medical file for patients who died while participating in the study.
RESULTS: Of the 186 randomised patients, 185 participants had a baseline measurement and were analysed. By November 2017, 128 patients had died while participating in the study. When applying the terminal decline model, patients in the intervention group scored significantly higher on global health status/QOL of the EORTC QLQ C30, at 6 months (difference: 5.9 [0.06; 11.1], p = 0.03), 3 (difference: 6.8 [1.0; 12.6], p = 0.02), and 1 month (difference: 7.6 [0.7; 14.5], p = 0.03) prior to the patient's death compared to the control group. Similar results were found for the Single Item Scale and Summary Score of the MQOL. We did not observe differences in use of health care resources between groups.
DISCUSSION: Early integrated palliative care in oncology is a valuable approach since it also increases QOL near the end of life and not only soon after initiation of PC.
Informal caregivers are at risk of being overwhelmed by various sources of suffering while caring for their significant others. It is, therefore, important for caregivers to take care of themselves. In the self-care context, mindfulness has the potential to reduce caregiver suffering. We studied the effect of a single session of 20-minute mindful breathing on the perceived level of suffering, together with the changes in bispectral index score (BIS) among palliative care informal caregivers. This was a randomized controlled study conducted at the University of Malaya Medical Centre, Malaysia. Forty adult palliative care informal caregivers were recruited and randomly assigned to either 20-minute mindful breathing or 20-minute supportive listening. The changes in perceived suffering and BIS were measured preintervention and postintervention. The reduction in suffering score in the intervention group was significantly more than the control group at minute 20 (U = 124.0, n1 = n2 = 20, mean rank1 = 24.30, mean rank2 = 16.70, z = -2.095, P = .036). The reduction in BIS in the intervention group was also significantly greater than the control group at minute 20 (U = 19.5, n1 = n2 = 20, mean rank1 = 29.52, mean rank2 = 11.48, z = -4.900, P < .0001). Twenty minutes of mindful breathing was more efficacious than 20 minutes of supportive listening in the reduction in suffering among palliative care informal caregivers.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: With an aging population with heart failure, there is a growing need for end-of-life care in this population, including a focus on symptom management and quality-of-life considerations.
RECENT FINDINGS: Targeted therapies focusing on symptom control and improving quality of life is the cornerstone of providing care in patients with heart failure near the end of life. Such therapies, including the use of inotropes for palliative purposes, have been shown to improve symptoms without an increase in mortality. In addition, recent evidence shows that implementing certain strategies in planning for end of life, including advance care planning and palliative care involvement, can significantly improve symptoms and quality of life, reduce hospitalizations, and ensure care respects patient values and preferences.
SUMMARY: Shifting focus from prolonging life to enhancing quality of life in heart failure patients approaching the end of life can be achieved by recognizing and managing end-stage heart failure-related symptoms, advanced care planning, and a multidisciplinary care approach.
Background: The Universal Health Coverage goals call for access to affordable palliative care to reduce inequities in “total pain” and suffering. To achieve this, a patient-centred understanding of these inequities is required.
Aim: To assess association of total pain and suffering (i.e. physical, psychological, social, and spiritual health outcomes) and perceived health care quality with financial difficulties among stage IV solid malignancy patients.
Design: Using baseline data from the COMPASS cohort study, we assessed total pain and suffering including physical (physical and functional well-being, pain, symptom burden), psychological (anxiety, depression, emotional well-being), social (social well-being), and spiritual (spiritual well-being, hope) outcomes and perceived health care quality (physician communication, nursing care, and coordination/responsiveness). Financial difficulties were scored by assessing patient perception of the extent to which their resources were meeting expenses for their treatments, daily living, and other obligations. We used multivariable linear/logistic regression to test association between financial difficulties and each patient-reported outcome.
Setting/participants: Six hundred stage IV solid malignancy patients in Singapore.
Results: Thirty-five percent reported difficulty in meeting expenses. A higher financial difficulties score was associated with worse physical, psychological, social, spiritual outcomes, and lower perceived quality of health care coordination and responsiveness (i.e. greater total pain and suffering) (all p < 0.05). These associations persisted after adjustment for socio-economic indicators.
Conclusion: Results identify advanced cancer patients with financial difficulties to be a vulnerable group with greater reported total pain and suffering. A holistic patient-centred approach to care at end-of-life may help meet goals for Universal Health Coverage.
OBJECTIVE: Interventions are needed to improve mental health (i.e., depression, anxiety) and palliative care (i.e., symptoms, goals of care, and advance care planning) outcomes in Latino/as with advanced cancer.
METHODS: An interprofessional study team used the Ecological Validity Model and a participatory approach to adapt an evidence-based counseling intervention for Latino/as and integrate the counseling intervention with an evidence-based patient navigator intervention. Next, a small pilot study was conducted to understand and improve the feasibility of the integrated Puente para Cuidar intervention.
RESULTS: Adaptations were made to language, literacy, and content of the counseling intervention, and video vignettes of the counseling case studies were produced on the recommendation of Latino/a stakeholders. Bicultural, bilingual patient navigators were used as "cultural brokers" between Latino/a patients and the counselor. The pilot study of Puente para Cuidar demonstrated feasibility based on participant perception of helpfulness and acceptability and nearing goal visit completion rates.
CONCLUSIONS: A culturally adapted intervention to address mental health and palliative care needs in Latino/as with advanced cancer was developed from prior evidenced-based interventions using a cultural adaptation model and a participatory approach. The intervention is ready for effectiveness testing.
INTRODUCTION: Electrochemotherapy involves the use of transient tumor permeabilization via electric pulses in combination with low-dose chemotherapeutic agents. It has recently emerged as an alternative treatment modality in vulvar cancer. The aim of this meta-analysis was to ascertain the effectiveness of electrochemotherapy in the context of palliative care.
METHODS: The following databases were searched: MEDLINE, Scopus, and Cochrane Database, to identify all registered articles pertaining to palliative vulvar cancer treatment with electrochemotherapy from inception until August 2019, in line with PRISMA guidelines. A single-proportion meta-analysis was performed for the outcomes of overall response, complete response, partial response, stable disease, and progressive disease raterespectively, using the random-effect model. Sensitivity analysis was performed to address heterogeneity.
RESULTS: Four studies were included totaling 104 women. The studies were of moderate quality. Pooled results from four studies rendered a summary proportion of 78.8% (95% CI 70.4% to 86.1%) for the outcome of overall response. The median age ranged between 68 and 85 years. The sample size per study ranged between eight and 61 women. The tumors' histological types included: squamous-cell carcinoma (96.2%), Paget's disease (2.9%), and malignant melanoma (0.9%). A total of 65 patients (62.5%) presented with a single nodule, whilst 39 patients (37.5%) presented with multiple nodules. Eighty-nine women (85.6%) were previously submitted to other treatment modalities. The overall response rate ranged from 73.2% to 80.9%. The pooled proportion for the outcomes of complete and partial response rate was 48.7% (95% CI 30.74% to 61.5%) and 30.2% (95% CI 21.7% to 39.4%), respectively. The follow-up ranged from 1 to 51 months. No severe adverse effects were reported. The safety profile of electrochemotherapy was favorable.
CONCLUSIONS: Electrochemotherapy is an effective and minimally invasive treatment modality in the palliative care management of patients with vulvar cancer. The effective control of vulvar tumors by electrochemotherapy may contribute to improvement of quality-of-life. In light of the moderate quality of evidence, a multi-center cooperation is warranted to confirm its palliative benefit.
Importance: Palliative care is a patient-centered approach associated with improvements in quality of life; however, results regarding its association with a survival benefit have been mixed, which may be a factor in its underuse.
Objective: To assess whether early palliative care is associated with a survival benefit among patients with advanced lung cancer.
Design, setting, and participants: This retrospective population-based cohort study was conducted among patients with lung cancer who were diagnosed with cancer between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2013, with follow-up until January 23, 2017. Participants comprised 23 154 patients with advanced lung cancer (stage IIIB and stage IV) who received care in the Veterans Affairs health care system. Data were analyzed from February 15, 2019, to April 28, 2019.
Exposure: Palliative care defined as a specialist-delivered palliative care encounter received after lung cancer diagnosis.
Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was survival. The association between palliative care and place of death was also examined. Propensity score and time-varying covariate methods were used to calculate Cox proportional hazards and to perform regression modeling.
Results: Of the 23 154 patients enrolled in the study, 57% received palliative care. The mean (SD) age of participants was 68 (9.5) years, and 98% of participants were men. An examination of the timing of palliative care receipt relative to cancer diagnosis found that palliative care received 0 to 30 days after diagnosis was associated with decreases in survival (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 2.13; 95% CI, 1.97-2.30), palliative care received 31 to 365 days after diagnosis was associated with increases in survival (aHR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.45-0.49), and palliative care received more than 365 days after diagnosis was associated with no difference in survival (aHR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.94-1.07) compared with nonreceipt of palliative care. Receipt of palliative care was also associated with a reduced risk of death in an acute care setting (adjusted odds ratio, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.52-0.64) compared with nonreceipt of palliative care.
Conclusions and relevance: The results suggest that palliative care was associated with a survival benefit among patients with advanced lung cancer. Palliative care should be considered a complementary approach to disease-modifying therapy in patients with advanced lung cancer.
BACKGROUND: Cancer-related fatigue and loss of physical functioning are distressing symptoms which negatively impact the quality of life of people with advanced cancer. Physical activity has been shown to have positive effects on these symptoms in early-stage cancer, but previous research demonstrated an incongruence between people with advanced cancer's expressed interest and actual participation in a physical activity intervention.
AIM: To gain an in-depth understanding of the experience of activity and quality of life in people with advanced cancer, using a classic grounded theory approach.
DESIGN: Through the post-positivist lens of subtle realism, and informed by classic grounded theory methods, a two-phase, cross-sectional, qualitative study was conducted. For 7 days duration, participants wore an activPAL™ activity monitor and completed a daily record sheet, which were then used as qualitative probes for face-to-face, semi-structured interviews.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A total of 15 people with advanced cancer, aged 18 years or older, and with a median survival of 100 days from time of study consent, were recruited from an outpatient department of a tertiary cancer centre in Alberta, Canada.
FINDINGS: Maintaining their responsibilities, no matter how small, was the prime motive for participants' behaviour. For people with advanced cancer, the minimum level of responsibility was dynamic and unique. It was achieved through a multifaceted interaction between the perceived benefits, prevailing conditions and mechanisms.
CONCLUSION: This grounded theory enables understanding of activity as a mechanism through which responsibility is managed and may inform future behavioural interventions in people with advanced cancer.
BACKGROUND: The length of stay in nursing homes before death in Sweden has significantly decreased, and nearly one-third of people die within 6 weeks of entering a nursing home. Support for the next of kin is one of the cornerstones of palliative care, but the principles are not always adhered to as recommended when caring for the elderly, which can affect the quality of life of their next of kin. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of quality of life among the next of kin of older persons who live in nursing homes before an educational intervention of palliative care.
METHODS: This is an explorative qualitative interview study with 40 next of kin using qualitative content analysis performed at baseline before the implementation of the principles of palliative care in nursing homes.
RESULTS: The next of kin's experiences of quality of life were expressed in three themes: Orientation to the new life situation, Challenges in their relationship and the Significance of the quality of care in the nursing home. The next of kin experienced a sense of relief, although the older person was constantly on their minds, and they could feel lonely. The difference in the couple's life situations was experienced as burdensome by the next of kin. The challenges in the relationship were described as stressful, related to a guilty conscience and the older person's vulnerability. The nursing home could be a context facilitating good relations. The perceptions of quality of care in terms of person-centredness affected the quality of life of the next of kin.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings show that four factors are decisive for the quality of life of next of kin: the relationships within the family, the degree of relief that nursing home care entails as compared to home care, the older person's health status and whether the care is person-centred. Increased knowledge and education regarding palliative care in nursing homes are needed to better meet the needs of next of kin. Implementation of palliative care should take into account the need for support for next of kin.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02708498, 15 March 2016.
In the UK, life extending, end-of-life (EoL) treatments are an exception to standard cost-per-quality-adjusted life year (QALY) thresholds. This implies that greater value is placed on gaining these QALYs, than QALYs gained by the majority of other patient groups treated for anything else in the health system, even for other EoL contexts (such as quality of life (QoL) improvements alone). This paper reports a Person Trade-Off (PTO) study to test whether studies that find societal support for prioritising EoL life extensions can be explained by the severity, in terms of prospective QALYs loss, of the non-terminal comparator scenarios. Eight health scenarios were designed depicting i) QoL improvements for non-EoL temporary (T-QoL) and chronic (C-QoL) health problems and ii) QoL improvements and life extensions (LEs) for EoL health problems. Preferences were elicited from a quota sample of 901 Scottish respondents in 2016 using PTO techniques via Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI). Our results indicate that there is little evidence to suggest that the severity of non-EoL comparator scenarios influence preferences for EoL treatments. Respondents do not appear to have a preference for EoL over non-EoL health gains; instead there is some indication that non-EoL health gains are preferred, particularly when compared to EoL-LE health gains. Comparing between QoL and life extending EoL scenarios, our results suggest QoL improvements are preferred to life extensions. Overall, results challenge current UK EoL policy which gives additional weight to EoL health gains, particularly EoL life extensions in the case of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Self-expandable metallic stent (SEMS) is a preferred option to relieve dysphagia and to palliate patients with incurable esophageal or gastro-esophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Health Related Quality of Life (QoL) represents a clinically relevant outcome measure in research focused on palliation of patients with advanced GI cancer. In this context, home visits by a nurse carry the potential to offer important advantages. Eighty patients with incurable esophageal or GEJ cancer were randomized to either standard follow up or to an intervention containing regular home visits by a nurse. The primary outcome variable QoL was assessed by EORTC QLQ-C30 and OES-18 before insertion of SEMS, and at 2, 7 and 12 weeks thereafter. Secondary outcomes were; need for re-interventions, number of patients receiving palliative oncological therapy and overall survival. Sixty-six males and 13 females, with a median age of 71, were included. Self-reported overall QoL was significantly higher in the intervention group (P = 0.03). The organ specific module OES-18 revealed a significant reduction in dysphagia by the intervention (P = 0.03) as well as fewer eating disabilities (P = 0.04). No differences were observed in secondary outcomes except for overall survival, where the median survival was increased from 114 to 183 days by the active intervention (P = 0.02). Home visits by a nurse seem to play an important palliative role after placement of SEMS in patients with incurable esophageal or GEJ cancer by improving QoL and may carry the potential to increase overall survival.
Background: Isometric paravertebral muscle training (IPMT) may improve mobility, pain, and quality of life (QOL) in cancer patients with spinal metastases. However, this regimen remains unproven in patients with unstable spinal metastases (USM), a population at high risk for clinical exacerbation with such interventions. Thus, we conducted this exploratory, non-blinded, randomized controlled trial (NCT02847754) to evaluate the safety/feasibility of IPMT and secondarily assess pain, bone density, pathologic fracture rate, and QOL.
Methods: All patients had histologically/radiologically confirmed USM (per Taneichi score) and underwent non-operative management with 5–10 fractions of palliative radiotherapy (RT). Randomization (1:1) groups were IPMT (intervention, INT) or muscle relaxation (control, CON); both lasted 15 min/day and started concurrently with radiotherapy. The primary endpoint was feasibility (completion of training programs three months post-RT). Secondary endpoints were pain response (Visual Analog Scale) and opioid consumption, bone density and pathologic fracture rate, and QOL (European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, EORTC questionnaires).
Results: Sixty patients were randomized and 56 received protocol therapy. Mean survival in both groups was 4.4 months. There were no adverse events with either training regimen. Altogether, =80% of the planned sessions were completed by 55% (n = 16/29) in CON and 67% (n = 18/27) in INT. Regarding the post-radiotherapy home-based training, =80% of planned sessions were completed by 64% (n = 9/14) of the INT cohort. There were no differences in pain scores, opioid consumption, or bone density between arms (p > 0.05 for all). No difference was observed between groups regarding new pathological fractures (INT: n = 1 vs. CON: n = 3) after three months (p = 0.419). There were no QOL differences between arms (all parameters p > 0.05).
Conclusions: IPMT is potentially feasible for high-risk USM patients. Future trials adequately powered for relevant endpoints are thus recommended.
Purpose: This study aims to investigate the impact of possible predictors of quality of life (QoL) in a group of Italian caregivers assisting a cancer patient in home palliative care.
Methods: Data from 570 adult informal caregivers and their cancer-affected relatives were collected. A multivariate regression analysis was conducted to assess the effect of three groups of variables on Caregivers Quality of Life Index-Cancer (CQOLC) scale: (a) socio-demographic characteristics of caregivers; (b) psychological characteristics of caregivers assessed by Profile Mood of States (POMS), Caregiver Burden Inventory (CBI), and Preparedness for Caregiving Scale (PCS); (c) Socio-demographic characteristics and functional status of the patients assessed by Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), Activities of Daily Living (ADL), and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL).
Results: Regression analysis shows that some variables from each of these clusters are significantly associated with CQOLC, in particular: (a) the gender of the caregiver (st.ß = .115, t = 2.765, p = .006) and the time spent for caregiving (st.ß = - .165, t = - 3.960, p < .001); (b) the scores obtained by the caregivers in POMS,CBI (st.ß = - .523, t = - 16.984, p < .001 and st.ß = - .373, t = - 12.950, p < .001, respectively) and PCS (st.ß = .092, t = 3.672, p < .001); (c) the gender (st.ß = - .081, t = - 1.933, p = .045) and the IADL score (st.ß = .195, t = 4.643, p < .001) of the patient.
Conclusions: A multidimensional evaluation is a key strategy to identify the most vulnerable caregivers. Apart from the condition of the patient, the gender of the caregivers, the time spent for caregiving and, above all, their psychological condition are strong predictors of caregivers’ QoL.
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Healthcare professionals working in palliative care are exposed to emotionally intense conditions. Scientific literature suggests Expressive Writing as a valid tool for the adjustment to traumatic events. For health workers, EW represents an important support to prevent Compassion Fatigue and Burnout. As literature showed that Compassion Satisfaction, Group Cohesion and the Organizational Commitment are protective factors able to counter the onset of Compassion Fatigue and Burnout, the aim of this study is evaluating the effect of Expressive Writing protocol in Palliative Care workers on Compassion Satisfaction, Group Cohesion and Organizational Commitment.
METHODS: A quasi-experimental quantitative 2x2 prospective study was conducted with two groups and two measurements. 66 professionals were included. Outcome variables were measured using: Organizational Commitment Questionnaire, Compassion Satisfaction Rating Scale, ICONAS Questionnaire, Questionnaire for the evaluation of EW sessions.
RESULTS: The parametric analysis through Student t test did not show statistical significance within the experimental group and between the experimental and control groups. One significant difference in the pre-intervention assessment of Normative Commitment t (gl 64) = -2.008 for p< 0.05, higher in the control group, disappeared in the post intervention evaluation. An improvement trend in all variables within and between groups was present, with a positive assessment of utility from the participants.
CONCLUSIONS: This intervention did not significantly impact outcome variables. It is however conceivable that by modifying the intervention methodology, it could prove effective. The positive evaluation by the operators, suggests to keep trying modelling a protocol tailored on Palliative Care professionals.
BACKGROUND: Many hospitalized older adults require family surrogates to make decisions, but surrogates may perceive that the quality of medical decisions is low and may have poor psychological outcomes after the patient's hospitalization.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the relationship between communication quality and high-quality medical decisions, psychological well-being, and satisfaction for surrogates of hospitalized older adults.
DESIGN: Observational study at three hospitals in a Midwest metropolitan area.
PARTICIPANTS: Hospitalized older adults (65+ years) admitted to medicine and medical intensive care units who were unable to make medical decisions, and their family surrogates. Among 799 eligible dyads, 364 (45.6%) completed the study.
MAIN MEASURES: Communication was assessed during hospitalization using the information and emotional support subscales of the Family Inpatient Communication Survey. Decision quality was assessed with the Decisional Conflict Scale. Outcomes assessed at baseline and 4-6 weeks post-discharge included anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7), depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9), post-traumatic stress (Impact of Event Scale-Revised), and satisfaction (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems).
KEY RESULTS: The mean patient age was 81.9 years (SD 8.32); 62% were women, and 28% African American. Among surrogates, 67% were adult children. Six to eight weeks post-discharge, 22.6% of surrogates reported anxiety (11.3% moderate–severe anxiety); 29% reported depression, (14.0% moderate–severe), and 14.6% had high levels of post-traumatic stress. Emotional support was associated with lower odds of anxiety (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.65, 95% CI 0.50, 0.85) and depression (AOR = 0.80, 95% CI 0.65, 0.99) at follow-up. In multivariable linear regression, emotional support was associated with lower post-traumatic stress (ß = -0.30, p = 0.003) and higher decision quality (ß = -0.44, p < 0.0001). Information was associated with higher post-traumatic stress (ß = 0.23, p = 0.022) but also higher satisfaction (ß = 0.61, p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Emotional support of hospital surrogates is consistently associated with better psychological outcomes and decision quality, suggesting an opportunity to improve decision making and well-being.
Background: Demographic and contextual factors are associated with quality of life (QoL) in older adults and prediagnosis QoL among older adults has important implications for supportive care in older cancer patients.
Objective: To examine whether lower educational attainment is associated with poorer QoL among community dwelling older adults just before their diagnosis of lung cancer in a nationally representative sample.
Design: his study used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (MHOS) dataset, which provides cancer registry data linked with survey data for Medicare Advantage enrollees.
Subjects: Adults 65 years and older at time of diagnosis with first or only primary lung cancer and with at least one survey before their cancer diagnosis.
Measurements: Level of education attained was categorized as less than high school (
Results: higher education was positively associated with prediagnosis mental and physical QoL. Other factors associated with lower QoL were Medicaid status and number of comorbidities.
Conclusions: Particular attention should focus on identifying and addressing QoL needs among vulnerable older adults to bolster QoL to mitigate its potential impact on prognosis following a lung cancer diagnosis.
The psychological phenotype in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is less negative than in other neurodegenerative diseases, manifested by a lower prevalence of psychopathology, such as anxiety and major depression, and a higher perceived quality of life by patients, irrespective of physical impairment. We hypothesized that positive psychological factors such as hope, optimism, and self-efficacy in people with ALS (PALS) were key determinants of satisfaction with life (SWL), despite physical impairment, and were protective against psychopathology. Forty PALS, at different functional levels, completed objective questionnaires to evaluate psychological factors of hope, optimism, self-efficacy, and SWL. Approximately 41% of the variance in SWL was accounted for by the Agency factor of hope. The results indicated that SWL was significantly correlated to specific positive psychological factors of hope and self-efficacy. Physical impairment was not correlated with positive psychological factors or SWL. These results support the role of hope and self-efficacy in maintaining satisfaction with life in PALS and consideration of these potentially modifiable factors could improve palliative therapy.
Involving patients in their own care is associated with improved health outcomes. Complementary therapies are popular among patients and enable them to receive the palliative care they want and need. However, the range of complementary therapy services available to patients need to be evaluated for efficacy. This study evaluated the complementary therapy services offered at one cancer outpatient clinic in the UK, with the aim of evaluating the effect of complementary therapies on patient wellbeing and to systematise concerns and categories of wellbeing in order to improve service provision. A sample of 60 patients rated their feelings of wellbeing on a Likert scale before and after a series of six complementary therapies. They were also asked which concerns they had and, after treatment, were asked about factors that may influence their wellbeing. The data were analysed quantitatively by t-test and Wilcoxon signed ranks and the results show a statistically significant improvement in wellbeing. The concerns were assigned into super categories to aid service provision and the other factors that influence general wellbeing were assessed to categorise areas of patient needs that may be addressed in patient care. These results highlight important areas for investigation, which have implications for service provision in palliative cancer care.