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, 14 (4), 341-8

Frequency, Intensity, and Correlates of Spiritual Pain in Advanced Cancer Patients Assessed in a Supportive/Palliative Care Clinic

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Frequency, Intensity, and Correlates of Spiritual Pain in Advanced Cancer Patients Assessed in a Supportive/Palliative Care Clinic

Marvin Omar Delgado-Guay et al. Palliat Support Care.

Abstract

Objective: Regular assessments of spiritual distress/spiritual pain among patients in a supportive/palliative care clinic (SCPC) are limited or unavailable. We modified the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) by adding spiritual pain (SP) to the scale (0 = best, 10 = worst) to determine the frequency, intensity, and correlates of self-reported SP (≥1/10) (pain deep in your soul/being that is not physical) among these advanced cancer patients.

Method: We reviewed 292 consecutive consults of advanced cancer patients (ACPs) who were evaluated at our SCPC between October of 2012 and January of 2013. Symptoms were assessed using the new instrument (termed the ESAS-FS).

Results: The median age of patients was 61 (range = 22-92). Some 53% were male; 189 (65%) were white, 45 (15%) African American, and 34 (12%) Hispanic. Some 123 of 282 (44%) of ACPs had SP (mean (95% CI) = 4(3.5-4.4). Advanced cancer patients with SP had worse pain [mean (95% CI) = 5.3(4.8, 5.8) vs. 4.5(4.0, 5.0)] (p = 0.02); depression [4.2(3.7, 4.7) vs. 2.1(1.7, 2.6), p < 0.0001]; anxiety [4.2(3.6, 4.7) vs. 2.5(2.0, 3.0), p < 0.0001]; drowsiness [4.2(3.7, 4.7) vs. 2.8(2.3, 3.2), p < 0.0001]; well-being [5.4(4.9, 5.8) vs. 4.5(4.1, 4.9), p = 0.0136]; and financial distress (FD) [4.4(3.9, 5.0) vs. 2.2(1.8, 2.7), p < 0.0001]. Spiritual pain correlated (Spearman) with depression (r = 0.45, p < 0.0001), anxiety (r = 0.34, p < 0.0001), drowsiness (r = 0.26, p < 0.0001), and FD (r = 0.44, p < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis showed an association with FD [OR (95% Wald CI) = 1.204(1.104-1.313), p < 0.0001] and depression [1.218(1.110-1.336), p < 0.0001]. The odds that patients who had SP at baseline would also have SP at follow-up were 182% higher (OR = 2.82) than for patients who were SP-negative at baseline (p = 0.0029). SP at follow-up correlated with depression (r = 0.35, p < 0.0001), anxiety (r = 0.25, p = 0.001), well-being (r = 0.27, p = 0.0006), nausea (r = 0.29, p = 0.0002), and financial distress (r = 0.42, p < 0.0001).

Significance of results: Spiritual pain, which is correlated with physical and psychological distress, was reported in more than 40% of ACPs. Employment of the ESAS-FS allows ACPs with SP to be identified and evaluated in an SCPC. More research is needed.

Keywords: Outpatient center; Spiritual pain; Supportive care/Palliative care.

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