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Indian J Palliat Care. 2018 Oct-Dec;24(4):512-516. doi: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_94_18.

Initial Perceptions about Palliative Care in Patients with Advanced Cancer: A Prospective Cross-Sectional Audit.

Author information

1
Department of Onco-Anaesthesiology and Palliative Medicine, Dr. BRAIRCH, AIIMS, New Delhi, India.

Abstract

Introduction:

There is enough evidence to suggest that early introduction to palliative care (PC) for patients with advanced cancer is beneficial. However, despite this, the patients often come late to PC physicians. There are a number of studies examining the preferences and practices of the physicians with respect to PC. However, there is limited literature exploring the patients' preferences and awareness regarding the PC services. This audit was done to identify the understanding and perceptions of PC in patients visiting PC outpatient department (OPD) and identify strategies to enhance their understanding.

Materials and Methods:

This prospective cross-sectional study was conducted in 200 advanced cancer patients visiting PC OPD in a tertiary care hospital. The patients were asked to fill a questionnaire to assess their knowledge and expectations form PC on their first visit.

Results:

Majority of the patients were from nearby areas and around 20% of them had to travel more than 300 km to receive palliative consultation. Unfortunately, majority of the patients had not heard the term PC before and were not aware of its meaning. Most of them (90%) were send to control pain which was too severe to be managed by the oncologists. We think that the major reason for the lack of awareness about PC services is limited availability across the country and lack of coordinated approach.

Conclusions:

The main problem identified in the audit was the inadequate information, lack of PC setups, and late referral of the patients to PC. Hence, we should make a model where PC services are integrated with the curative services and offered throughout the illness after cancer diagnosis.

KEYWORDS:

Advanced cancer; palliative care; patient; perception; qualitative research

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