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Daily living needs of cancer outpatients

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The proportion of patients who receive intensive medical treatment outside the hospital environment has increased steadily over the past two decades. Active cancer chemotherapy outpatients (N=413) receiving treatment in the community were surveyed to document the prevalence and to identify the correlates of their daily living needs. Overall, 90% of the sample required help with some type of Personal, Instrumental or Administrative activity. Patients reported need for assistance with heavy housekeeping, shopping and completion of forms and paperwork most often. More than one-quarter (26.7%) of those requiring help reported that their need was unmet. Males, patients reporting poor physical functioning, and patients with children at home reported a greater level of need. Unmet need varied as a function of level of confidence in the ability of others to provide help, the number of helpers available as well as level of physical functioning and age. The relation between these results and potential intervention strategies to assist patients in meeting their needs is discussed.

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Edward Guadagnoli, PhD is Assistant Professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Department of Health Care Policy, 25 Shattuck Street, Parcel B - 1st Floor, Boston, MA 02115. Vincent Mor, PhD is Director, Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Associate Professor of Medical Science, Department of Community Health, Box G, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912. This research was supported in part by NCI Grant # CA 41020.

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Guadagnoli, E., Mor, V. Daily living needs of cancer outpatients. J Community Health 16, 37–47 (1991).

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