Nutritional support and risk status among cancer patients in palliative home care services
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Orrevall, Y., Tishelman, C., Permert, J. et al. Support Care Cancer (2009) 17: 153. doi:10.1007/s00520-008-0467-4
- 339 Views
Goal of work
The aim of this study was to investigate the nutritional risk status and use of nutritional support among cancer patients enrolled in palliative home care services. Differences in the use of nutritional support in relation to nutritional, social and clinical factors, as well as survival were also investigated.
Patients and methods
Structured telephone interviews were conducted with cancer patients enrolled in all 21 palliative home care services in the Stockholm region. An interview guide was designed to investigate topics related to the patient’s nutritional situation.
Interviews with 621 patients were analysed. Sixty-eight percent of the patients were scored as at nutritional risk according on a modified version of NRS-2002. Nutritional support was used by 55% of the patients, with oral nutritional supplements most common and 14% using artificial nutrition. Use of nutritional support was related to low BMI and severe weight loss and was more common in patients with shorter survival times.
These findings demonstrate that nutritional support is used to treat already malnourished patients with shorter survival time, rather than to prevent malnutrition. A more structured approach to nutritional issues for patients in palliative phases, which considers life expectancy and psycho-social aspects of nutritional issues, could help identify potential candidates for nutritional support.