Context: A notable gap in the evidence base for palliative care (PC) for cancer is that most trials were conducted in specialized centers with limited translation and further evaluation in "real-world" settings. Health systems are desperate for guidance on effective, scalable models.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the effects of a nurse-led PC intervention for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer and their family caregivers (FCGs) in a community-based setting.
Methods: Two-group, sequential, quasi-experimental design with Phase 1 (usual care [UC]) followed by Phase 2 (intervention) was conducted at three Kaiser Permanente Southern California sites. Participants included patients with Stage 2-4 non-small-cell lung cancer and their FCG. Standard measures of quality of life (QOL) included Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Lung, Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spirituality Subscale, City of Hope Family QOL; other outcomes were distress, health care utilization, caregiver preparedness, and burden.
Results: Patients in the intervention cohort had significant improvements in three (physical, emotional, and functional well-being) of the five QOL domains at one month that were sustained through three month compared to UC (P < 0.01). Caregivers in the intervention cohort had improvements in physical (P = 0.04) and spiritual well-being (P = 0.03) and preparedness (P = 0.04) compared to UC. There were no differences in distress or health care utilization between cohorts.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that a research-based PC intervention can be successfully adapted to community settings to achieve similar, if not better, QOL outcomes for patients and FCGs compared to UC. Nonetheless, additional modifications to ensure consistent referrals to PC and streamlining routine assessments and patient/FCG education are needed to sustain and disseminate the PC intervention.
Keywords: Palliative care; community practice; implementation; lung cancer; translation.
Copyright © 2018 American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.