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Patients with malignant wounds suffer from physical and psychological symptom burden. Despite psychological support being required, the impact of malignant wounds on patients’ psychological distress is poorly investigated. We evaluated psychological distress associated with malignant wounds for patients at their end of life.
This study used the secondary analysis of the results of a large prospective cohort study, which investigated the dying process among patients with advanced cancer in 23 palliative care units in Japan. The primary outcome of this study was the prevalence of moderate to severe psychological symptom burden, evaluated by the Integrated Palliative Care Outcome Scale (IPOS)-feeling at peace scores of 2–4. In addition, the factors affecting psychological symptoms were investigated. The quality of death was also evaluated upon death using the Good Death Scale score.
Out of the total 1896 patients, 156 had malignant wounds (8.2%). Malignant wounds were more common in female and young people. The breast, head, and neck were the most prevalent primary sites. More patients with malignant wounds had IPOS-feeling at peace scores of 2–4 than patients without malignant wounds (41.0% vs. 31.3%, p = 0.024). Furthermore, psychological distress was associated with moderate to severe IPOS-pain and the frequency of dressing changes. The presence of malignant wounds did not affect the quality of death.
Significance of results
This study showed increased psychological distress due to malignant wounds. Patients with malignant wounds require psychological support in addition to the treatment of physical symptoms for maintaining their quality of life.
There is no widely used prognostic model for delirium in patients with advanced cancer. The present study aimed to develop a decision tree prediction model for a short-term outcome.
This is a secondary analysis of a multicenter and prospective observational study conducted at 9 psycho-oncology consultation services and 14 inpatient palliative care units in Japan. We used records of patients with advanced cancer receiving pharmacological interventions with a baseline Delirium Rating Scale Revised-98 (DRS-R98) severity score of ≥10. A DRS-R98 severity score of <10 on day 3 was defined as the study outcome. The dataset was randomly split into the training and test dataset. A decision tree model was developed using the training dataset and potential predictors. The area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristic curve was measured both in 5-fold cross-validation and in the independent test dataset. Finally, the model was visualized using the whole dataset.
Altogether, 668 records were included, of which 141 had a DRS-R98 severity score of <10 on day 3. The model achieved an average AUC of 0.698 in 5-fold cross-validation and 0.718 (95% confidence interval, 0.627–0.810) in the test dataset. The baseline DRS-R98 severity score (cutoff of 15), hypoxia, and dehydration were the important predictors, in this order.
Significance of results
We developed an easy-to-use prediction model for the short-term outcome of delirium in patients with advanced cancer receiving pharmacological interventions. The baseline severity of delirium and precipitating factors of delirium were important for prediction.
The present study aims were (1) to identify the proportion of terminally ill cancer patients with desire for hastened death (DHD) receiving specialized palliative care, (2) to identify the reasons for DHD, and (3) to classify patients with DHD into some interpretable subgroups.
Advanced cancer patients admitted to 23 inpatients hospices/palliative care units in 2017 were enrolled. Data were prospectively obtained by the primarily responsible physicians. The presence/absence of DHD and reasons for DHD were recorded. A cluster analysis was performed to identify patterns of subgroups in patients with DHD.
Data from 971 patients, whose Richmond Agitation–Sedation Scale score at admission was zero and who died in palliative care units, were analyzed. The average age was 72 years, common primary cancer sites were the gastrointestinal tract (31%) and the liver/biliary ducts/pancreas (19%). A total of 174 patients (18%: 95% confidence interval, 16–20) expressed DHD. Common reasons for DHD were dependency (45%), burden to others (28%), meaninglessness (24%), and inability to engage in pleasant activities (24%). We identified five clusters of patients with DHD: cluster 1 (35%, 61/173): “physical distress,” cluster 2 (21%, 37/173): “dependent and burdensome,” cluster 3 (19%, 33/173): “hopelessness,” cluster 4 (17%, 30/173): “profound fatigue,” and cluster 5 (7%, 12/173): “extensive existential suffering.”
A considerable number of patients expressed DHD and could be categorized into five subgroups. These findings may contribute to the development of therapeutic strategies.
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