Kao, C.Y., Hu, W.Y., Chiu, T.Y., & Chen, C.Y. (2014). Effects of the hospital-based palliative care team on the care for cancer patients: An evaluation study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 51(2), 226-235.doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2013.05.008
To evaluate the effects of the hospital-based palliative care team on care for patients with cancer
The hospital-based palliative care team visited intervention patients “regularly” during the one-week study period. Team members including physicians, nurses, chaplains, and social workers provided advice about medications and taught patients and families skills to relieve physical symptoms, provided emotional support, and assisted with truth-telling and preparation for death. Data were collected at baseline and one week later.
Quasi-experimental study with a pretest-posttest design
No significant difference was seen in anxiety and depression between the control and intervention groups after one week of palliative care. Improvement was seen in edema, fatigue, dry mouth, and abdominal distention.
Nurse interventions improved symptom management for the intervention group; however, in the short timeframe of this study emotional disturbances were not affected. Cultural implications are important here; death is a taboo topic in Chinese culture, and patients' understanding of their terminal disease is low and rarely discussed.
Palliative care consultation may benefit many symptoms of patients with cancer, but without clear interventions for depression and in this short timespan, little effect is apparent.