The problems experienced by patients with cancer and their needs for palliative care
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To investigate the problems that patients experience and their met- and unmet needs for professional help. This information is necessary to tailor palliative care to patient needs.
Patients and methods
Patients (n=94) with disseminated cancer completed a validated checklist with 90 potential problems and needs for palliative care (PNPC questionnaire).
On average, patients experienced 37 problems (range 0–68) and required more professional attention for eight problems (range 0–71). The five most prevalent problems were: fatigue, heavy housework, coping with the unpredictability of the future, fear of metastases, and frustrations because I can do less than before. The five issues most in need of extra attention were: informational needs, coping with the unpredictability of the future, fear of metastases, fear of physical suffering, and difficulties remembering what was told (during consultations). Younger patients experienced more social, psychological, and financial problems. Some 10% of patients expressed a multitude of problems and needs.
While patients with metastasized cancer experienced a wide variety of problems, they asked for more support for only a few specific problems. Evidently, “problems” are not synonymous with unmet needs. Therefore, not only problems but also needs for care should be assessed. A structural need for support to cope with fears of suffering and loss of autonomy was found. Ten percent of patients expressed a multitude of problems and needs and might benefit either from psychological counseling or better palliative care.
- The problems experienced by patients with cancer and their needs for palliative care
Supportive Care in Cancer
Volume 13, Issue 9 , pp 722-732
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- Print ISSN
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- Palliative care
- Needs assessment
- Quality of care
- Patient empowerment
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Center of quality of care research (WOK), Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
- 3. WOK 229, PO. Box 9101, 6500HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
- 2. Department of General Practice, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands