Palliative care for patients with cancer: Do patients receive the care they consider important? A survey study

Marianne Heins, Jolien Hofstede, Mieke Rijken, Joke Korevaar, G. Donker, Anneke Francke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: In many countries, GPs and home care nurses are involved in care for patients with advanced cancer. Given the varied and complex needs of these patients, providing satisfactory care is a major challenge for them. We therefore aimed to study which aspects of care patients, GPs and home care nurses consider important and whether patients receive these aspects. Methods: Seventy-two Dutch patients with advanced cancer, 87 GPs and 26 home care nurses rated the importance of support when experiencing symptoms, respect for patients' autonomy and information provision. Patients also rated whether they received these aspects. Questionnaires were based on the CQ index palliative care. Results: Almost all patients rated information provision and respect for their autonomy as important. The majority also rated support when suffering from specific symptoms as important, especially support when in pain. In general, patients received the care they considered important. However, 49% of those who considered it important to receive support when suffering from fatigue and 23% of those who wanted to receive information on the expected course of their illness did not receive this or only did so sometimes. Conclusion: For most patients with advanced cancer, the palliative care that they receive matches what they consider important. Support for patients experiencing fatigue may need more attention. When symptoms are difficult to control, GPs and nurses may still provide emotional support and practical advice. Furthermore, we recommend that GPs discuss patients' need for information about the expected course of their illness.
Original languageEnglish
Article number61
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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