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Community palliative care services on addressing physical and psychosocial needs in people with advanced illness: a prospective cohort study

  • Chan, Helen Yue-lai1
  • Chung, Carmen Ka-man2
  • Tam, Shawn Sze-chai2
  • Chow, Rita Suk-kuen2
  • 1 The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China , Hong Kong SAR (China)
  • 2 Endless Care Services, Elderly Services Section, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong SAR, China , Hong Kong SAR (China)
Published Article
BMC Palliative Care
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Sep 15, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s12904-021-00840-0
Springer Nature
  • Research


BackgroundThe integration of palliative care into primary health care has been advocated to improve its accessibility and the continuity of care. Recent studies on such an approach have mainly focused on health care cost and utilization. This study aims to evaluate the effects of a community interdisciplinary palliative care program on the symptom experience of patients with advanced disease.MethodsA prospective cohort study was conducted. The Integrated Palliative Care Outcome Scale was used for monthly assessment to monitor their condition. Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to examine changes in symptom experience across time.ResultsForty-eight patients with a predominance of cancer diagnoses, enrolled in the program. They reported anxiety, hardly feeling at peace, and neither receiving information as wanted nor being able to share their feeling with family/friends as more overwhelming than physical symptoms. Improvements in emotional symptoms was statistically significant at 1-month follow up (p < 0.001). Improvements in communication/practical issues were also significant at the 1-month (p < 0.001) and 2-month (p = 0.005) follow-up. However, changes in symptom experiences in the subsequent months were not apparent.ConclusionsThis study reveals the overwhelming emotional, communication and information needs among patients with advanced diseases and provides empirical evidence of the community palliative care program in short term. Further work is needed to strengthen the medical-social partnership to support care in place albeit health deterioration.

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