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Impact Of A Palliative Care Consultation Team On Cancer-related Symptoms In Advanced Cancer Patients Referred To An Outpatient Supportive Care Clinic.

S. Yennurajalingam, D. Urbauer, K. Casper, C. Reyes-Gibby, R. Chacko, V. Poulter, E. Bruera
Published 2011 · Medicine

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CONTEXT Patients with advanced cancer may develop severe physical and psychosocial symptoms. There are limited data on the impact of an outpatient palliative consultation (PC) team on cancer-related symptoms. OBJECTIVES To study the impact of the PC on symptoms in patients with advanced cancer receiving outpatient palliative care. METHODS Four hundred six consecutive patients referred to a supportive care outpatient center (OPC) from January 2006 to June 2007 with complete Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (0-10 scale) at the initial and follow-up visits were reviewed. Patient characteristics, change of symptoms at follow-up visit, and response rate were analyzed. Using logistic regression models, the predictors of improvement of pain and fatigue were assessed. RESULTS Median age was 59 years; 53% were female. Median interval between visits was 15 days. Mean scores at baseline and follow-up visits were fatigue 6.8 and 5.3 (P<0.0001), pain 5.3 and 4.1 (P<0.0001), depression 3.2 and 2.5 (P<0.0001), anxiety 3.7 and 2.8 (P<0.0001), dyspnea 2.7 and 2.5 (P=0.05), sleep 5 and 4 (P<0.0001), and well-being 5.2 and 4.4 (P<0.0001). Dyspnea (odds ratio and P-value, 0.90, 0.03), nausea (0.92, 0.06), and depression (0.91, 0.04) were associated with improvement in fatigue; drowsiness (1.10, 0.04), and feeling of well-being (0.87, 0.02) were associated with improvement in pain. CONCLUSION The initial consult by PC achieved significant symptom improvement in patients receiving treatment in the OPC. Further prospective studies are needed.
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