Background: Early palliative care provided through a palliative care consultative service is effective in enhancing patient outcomes. However, it is unknown whether the integration of palliative care as part of routine comprehensive cancer care improves patients' self-reported clinical outcomes.
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of a multidisciplinary coordinated intervention by advanced practice nurses at the clinic level on outcomes with patients newly diagnosed with late-stage cancer.
Methods: A clustered, randomized, controlled trial design was used. Four disease-specific multidisciplinary clinics were randomized to the 10-week intervention (gynecologic and lung clinics) or to enhanced usual care (head and neck and gastrointestinal clinics). Patient primary outcomes (symptoms, health distress, depression, functional status, self-reported health) were collected at baseline and one and three months, and secondary outcomes were collected one and three months postbaseline. General linear mixed model analyses with a covariance structure of within-subject correlation was used to examine the intervention's effect.
Results: The sample included 146 patients with newly diagnosed late-stage cancers. We found no differences between the two groups on the primary patient-reported outcomes at one and three months postbaseline; however, physical and emotional symptoms remained stable or significantly improved from baseline for both groups. Overall, secondary outcomes remained stable within the groups.
Conclusion: In this translational study, we demonstrated that if patients newly diagnosed with late-stage cancer were managed by disease-specific multidisciplinary teams who palliated their symptoms, providing whole-patient care, patient outcomes remained stable or improved.