Improving outcomes for people with progressive cancer: interrupted time series trial of a needs assessment intervention

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2012 Mar;43(3):569-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2011.04.020. Epub 2011 Dec 30.


Context: Improving the effectiveness of cancer care delivery has become a major focus of research.

Objectives: This study assessed the uptake and impact of the Palliative Care Needs Assessment Guidelines and Needs Assessment Tool: Progressive Disease--Cancer (NAT: PD-C) on the outcomes of people with advanced cancer.

Methods: Given widely varying survival in people with advanced cancer, an interrupted time series design was used, with data on unmet needs, depression, anxiety, and quality of life collected from 195 patients using telephone interviews every two months, for up to 18 months. Patients completed at least two baseline interviews before health professionals were academically detailed in the use of the Palliative Care Needs Assessment Guidelines and NAT: PD-C. Health professionals completed the NAT: PD-C with patients approximately monthly for the remainder of the study. Changes in patients' outcomes were compared prior to and following the introduction of the NAT: PD-C using general estimating equations.

Results: Moderate to high needs across all domains were frequently seen in the preintervention phase. The use of the NAT: PD-C was associated with a significant reduction in health system and information and patient care and support needs.

Conclusion: These resources have the potential as an efficient and acceptable strategy for supporting needs-based cancer care. Further work is required to determine their unique contribution to improvements in patient outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / psychology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment / standards*
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Quality Improvement
  • Quality of Life
  • Sample Size
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult