Objective: Challenges and barriers continue to hinder the integration of palliative care models into comprehensive, ambulatory oncology care. This article aims to describe how symptoms, distress, and quality of life (QOL) data from the usual care phase of a National Cancer Institute-supported Program Project informed the development of an interdisciplinary, tailored palliative care intervention for patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods: Patients receiving usual care for metastatic NSCLC were recruited into this prospective longitudinal study over a 1-year period. A total of 130 patients with stage IV NSCLC were accrued, and 114 patients had evaluable data. Research nurses assisted patients in completing the clinical section of the data forms, and patients completed surveys and self-reports at baseline and 6, 12, and 24 weeks.
Results: Patients ranged in age from 40 to 84 years, and 61% were Caucasian non-Hispanic. Sixty-six former (N = 59) and current smokers had an average of 38 pack-year history of smoking. The Karnofsky Performance Status, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, and Cognitive scores deteriorated significantly (P = .001, .009, and .042, respectively). Social Activity was stable, whereas Social Support increased significantly. Overall symptom distress score and Total symptom score both significantly increased at 24 weeks (P = .003 and .017, respectively). Physical Well-Being decreased significantly (P = .036), whereas the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Lung, Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spirituality Subscale, and Distress scores remained statistically stable over time.
Conclusions: Patients with metastatic NSCLC continue to experience high symptom burden and diminished physical well-being over time while receiving cancer treatments. An interdisciplinary palliative care intervention is currently being tested to improve symptom burden and overall QOL.
Keywords: Cognition; Function; Quality of Life; Social support; Symptoms.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.