Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Earlier palliative care improves quality of life, patient satisfaction, cancer study shows

Date:
February 19, 2014
Source:
University Health Network (UHN)
Summary:
The impact of providing early outpatient palliative care versus standard oncology care in a wide range of advanced cancers indicate that earlier care improved quality of life and patient satisfaction, the first clinical study of its kind suggest. The findings demonstrate the benefits of cancer centers providing early specialized palliative care in outpatient clinics. To put the findings into practice, palliative care teams should be involved much earlier in the course of illness to provide collaborative care together with oncologists, says the lead researcher.

Results of the first clinical study to assess the impact of providing early outpatient palliative care versus standard oncology care in a wide range of advanced cancers show that earlier care improved quality of life and patient satisfaction.

The four-year study involved 461 patients at 24 medical oncology clinics at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network (UHN) with advanced lung, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, breast and gynecologic cancers.

The findings, published online today in the leading medical journal The Lancet, demonstrate the benefits of cancer centres providing early specialized palliative care in outpatient clinics, says principal investigator Dr. Camilla Zimmermann, Head, Palliative Care Program, UHN, and Medical Director, Al Hertz Centre for Supportive and Palliative Care at the Princess Margaret.

To put the findings into practice, palliative care teams should be involved much earlier in the course of illness to provide collaborative care together with oncologists, says Dr. Zimmermann.

"The traditional view of palliative care is end-of-life measures but over the past 10 years, specialized palliative care has been evolving into finding ways to improve quality of life earlier on. Our study results can help map the way forward," says Dr. Zimmermann, who is also Associate Professor and holds the Rose Family Chair in Supportive Care in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

"The key outcome validates that quality of life improves with the core intervention of seeing a physician and nurse with specialist palliative care training once a month in the outpatient clinic," says Dr. Zimmermann.

"Another important outcome is that patients reported improved satisfaction of care. We found that patients appreciated having a team of professionals available to provide additional support navigating the cancer system and coping with multiple medical and social issues."

The study -- a cluster randomized controlled trial with patients with advanced cancer whose prognosis was greater than six months -- assessed impact using five standard clinical measurement tools to determine quality of life, symptom control, satisfaction with care and difficulty with medical interactions.

All participants completed a baseline survey and received the same clinical care over four months. The 228 patients in the early intervention group also received formal monthly consultation with the palliative care team in a specialized outpatient clinic, plus regular phone follow-up. Initial palliative consultation included a comprehensive, multidisciplinary assessment of symptoms, psychological distress, social support and home services. When the study ended, patients were offered continued follow-up in the outpatient palliative care clinics.

"Quality of life was an outcome of interest because it is a central focus of palliative care," says Dr. Zimmermann. "The research team used a cancer-specific measure encompassing physical, function, social and psychological domains, as well as the spiritual domain, which is of particular relevance in patients with advanced cancer," she explains.

Despite the worse status of the intervention group at baseline, the study showed a trend for improvement in quality of life at three months and clinically meaningful improvement at four months. Similarly, patient satisfaction with care improved substantially at both three and four months in the early palliative care group, while it deteriorated in the control group.

Results in the other domains assessed -- symptom management and medical interactions -- showed differences favoring the early palliative care group only at four months.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Health Network (UHN). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Camilla Zimmermann, Nadia Swami, Monika Krzyzanowska, Breffni Hannon, Natasha Leighl, Amit Oza, Malcolm Moore, Anne Rydall, Gary Rodin, Ian Tannock, Allan Donner, Christopher Lo. Early palliative care for patients with advanced cancer: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62416-2

Cite This Page:

University Health Network (UHN). "Earlier palliative care improves quality of life, patient satisfaction, cancer study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219075115.htm>.
University Health Network (UHN). (2014, February 19). Earlier palliative care improves quality of life, patient satisfaction, cancer study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219075115.htm
University Health Network (UHN). "Earlier palliative care improves quality of life, patient satisfaction, cancer study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219075115.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins