Unresolved Palliative Care Needs of Elderly Non-Cancer Patients at Home: A Multicenter Prospective Study

J Prim Care Community Health. 2023 Jan-Dec:14:21501319231221431. doi: 10.1177/21501319231221431.


Introduction/objectives: There is growing consensus on the benefits of initiating palliative care early in the disease trajectory; however, palliative care needs for non-cancer patients remain to be elucidated. We investigated the trajectory of unresolved palliative care needs of non-cancer patients at home and explored associated factors.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter prospective cohort study of elderly non-cancer patients at home in Japan between Jan 2020 and Dec 2020. Physicians assessed their palliative care needs using the Integrated Palliative Care Outcome Scale (IPOS). Unresolved palliative care needs were defined as IPOS symptoms above 2 (moderate).

Results: In total, 785 patients were enrolled. The most frequent unresolved palliative care needs at enrollment were poor mobility (n = 438, 55.8%), followed by weakness/lack of energy (n = 181, 23.1%) and poor appetite (n = 160, 20.4%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that female and musculoskeletal disease were significantly positively associated with pain at starting home visits (OR = 1.89, P = .015; OR = 2.69, P = .005). In addition, neurological diseases were significantly positively associated with constipation and poor mobility 3 months after starting home visits (OR = 3.75, P = .047; OR = 3.04, P = .009).

Conclusions: The order of the prevalence of unresolved palliative care needs may remain relatively stable over time, even for those receiving home-based palliative care services. We identified several specific diseases and conditions that were significantly associated with unresolved palliative care needs.

Keywords: Integrated Palliative Care Outcome Scale; home care; non-cancer; palliative care needs.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Palliative Care
  • Physicians*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies