The latest medical research on Palliative Medicine

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about palliative medicine gathered by our medical AI research bot.

The selection below is filtered by medical specialty. Registered users get access to the Plexa Intelligent Filtering System that personalises your dashboard to display only content that is relevant to you.

Want more personalised results?

Request Access

Using real world data to advance the provision of supportive cancer care: mucositis as a case study.

Opinion in supportive & palliative care

For decades, clinical decision making and practice has been largely informed by data generated through randomized clinical trials (RCTs). By design, RCTs are highly restricted in both scope and scale, resulting in narrow indications and iterative advances in clinical practice. With the transition to electronic health records, there are now endless opportunities to utilize these 'real world' data (RWD) to make more substantive advances in our understanding that are, by nature, more applicable to reality. This review discusses the current paradigm of using big data to advance and inform the provision of supportive cancer care, using mucositis as a case study.

Global efforts to synthesize RWD in cancer have almost exclusively focused on tumor classification and treatment efficacy, leveraging on routine tumor pathology and binary response outcomes. In contrast, clinical notes and billing codes are not as applicable to treatment side effects which require integration of both clinical and biological data, as well as patient-reported outcomes.

Cancer treatment-induced toxicities are heterogeneous and complex, and as such, the use of RWD to better understand their etiology and interaction is challenging. Multidisciplinary cooperation and leadership are needed to improve data collection and governance to ensure the right data is accessible and reliable.

Oral pain in the cancer patient.

Opinion in supportive & palliative care

Oral pain is a common complaint in patients with cancer. This review aims to summarize the knowledge on the causes and approach to management of oral pain garnered over the past 2 years.

A systematic review and meta-analysis included in the review, assessed cannabinoid versus placebo and showed only a small effect on pain, physical function, and sleep quality. Another review showed that chemical neurolysis as an adjunctive therapy, is effective in patients with pain of shorter chronicity and refractory head and neck cancer-related pain.

Patients with cancer frequently experience oral pain because of a variety of factors. Factors inherent in the type and location of the malignancy, the modality of cancer treatment, and a holistic approach to management together contribute to their overall pain experience. Basic oral care should be implemented wherever possible, before, during, and after cancer treatment.

Developing a Screening Tool for Serious Health-related Suffering for Low- and Middle-Income Countries - Phase-1: Domain Identification and Item Generation.

Indian Journal of Palliative Care

The Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief reported significant levels of health-related suffering globally, with the highest incidence in the low- and middle-income countries. The report describes suffering as health-related when it is associated with illness or injury of any kind and suffering as serious when it cannot be relieved without professional intervention and when it compromises physical, social, spiritual, and/or emotional functioning. This paper describes the preliminary development phase of a tool for screening Serious Health-related Suffering (SHS) at individual patient level, suitable to the healthcare settings in India. The study was conducted by the National Cancer Grid-India, with support from the Indian Association of Palliative Care.

Domain identification and item generation were conducted according to the recommendations for tool development by the American Psychological Association and World Health Organisation quality of life instrument. The consensus for domain questions and associated items was achieved using Delphi, nominal group technique, expert review, and polling.

The Phase-1 study for developing the screening tool for SHS contextualised to resource-limited settings generated a bilevel questionnaire. The initial level assesses and scores the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and financial domains of health-related suffering. The next level assesses seriousness, through functional limitation and patient's preference.

The generation of domains, items, and screening questions for health-related suffering and its seriousness completes the preliminary phase of developing the SHS screening tool applicable to a resource-limited healthcare setting. Field testing of the tool is being conducted as Phase-2 of this study, to validate it in clinical settings.

Role of Respite Palliative Care in Understanding and Managing Complex Palliative Care Situation - A Case Report.

Indian Journal of Palliative Care

The concept of total pain encompasses a person's physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and practical struggles. Effective pain and symptom management are the core elements of palliative care which aims at reducing suffering and improving quality of life (QOL) throughout the course of illness and need to be addressed with multidisciplinary coordinated approach in a timely manner. It may be challenging for palliative care providers to address all these distressing issues during short out-patient consultations. Hence, Respite Palliative Care Unit (RPCU) is an appropriate place to provide holistic patient care.

A 59-year-old widow, from Muslim community, was following up with Palliative Medicine out-patient department for management of progressively increasing chest pain with frequent exacerbations. She remained unsatisfied with the pain management and reported moderate to severe intensity of pain despite maximal pain management using multimodal approaches. We planned to systematically explore and address the issues leading to uncontrolled pain and distress. The patient was admitted to RPCU for holistic pain management and continuity of care. We explored and addressed the complex psycho-socio-spiritual aspects contributing to the total pain experience to achieve better symptom control and improve her overall well-being.

This case report emphasizes the role of RPCU in effective and holistic management of psychosocial, spiritual issues, difficult communication, and advanced care planning. This model of palliative care can be a valuable addition to various health-care set-ups in the developing countries for improvement of patient care.

Cancer-Related Fatigue - Clinical Evaluation Scales and Interventions: A Systematic Review.

Indian Journal of Palliative Care

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is one of the most frequent and prevalent symptoms expressed by cancer patients and cancer survivors. It is a multifactorial phenomenon that causes a direct detrimental impact on quality of life.

This systematic review aims to identify different clinical evaluation scales and interventions available for fatigue associated with cancer.

A methodology of the systematic literature review was carried out. Two separate databases PubMed and Google Scholar searches were performed using different MeSH terms.

A total of 2611 research articles were screened and identified 10 unidimensional scales (four with one item scales and six with numerous item scales) and 13 multidimensional scales which are available for the screening and clinical evaluation of fatigue. Reviews have also revealed non-pharmacological interventions such as exercise, complementary therapies, nutritional and psychoeducational interventions, sleep therapy, energy therapy, bright white light, restorative therapies upcoming anthroposophical medicine, and various pharmacological agents effective in managing CRF.

Clinical evaluation of fatigue and its management is crucial for improving the quality of life. Yet, more rigorous research studies with higher statistical power need to be conducted on these interventions to generate adequate evidences for managing the CRF.

Knowledge on Prevention of Pressure Ulcers Among Caregivers of Patients Receiving Home-based Palliative Care.

Indian Journal of Palliative Care

Pressure Ulcer (PUs) remains one of the most crucial aspects of any home-based palliative care setting. The objective of this need assessment study was to assess caregivers' knowledge regarding the prevention of pressure ulcers (PUs) among home-based palliative care patients.

Study design: This study was a quantitative cross-sectional survey. Setting: The study was conducted among caregivers of home-based palliative care patients residing in Olavanna Panchayath, Kozhikode. Population: Caregivers of home-based palliative care patients at risk of developing bedsores. Sample and sample size: Using the purposive sampling technique, the need assessment was conducted among 20 caregivers of home-based palliative care patients. Data were collected using a structured knowledge interview schedule. Data analysis: The obtained data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Knowledge assessment among care providers reveals that 10% had good knowledge, 40% had average knowledge, 50% had poor knowledge, and none had very good or very poor knowledge.

Providing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and structured teaching programs can improve the knowledge of caregivers. Measures to improve the availability of helping hands at home through volunteer training, ensuring the necessary equipment and regular supervision are crucial for contributing to patient comfort and safety, which will enhance the quality of life of palliative care patients.

Implementation Science of Paediatric Palliative Care in Lower-Middle-Income Countries in Southeast Asia: An Integrative Review.

Indian Journal of Palliative Care

There is an ongoing development in the paediatric palliative care (PPC) program in Southeast Asia (SEA). However, the implementation process has no...

Feasibility of a Palliative Care Intervention Utilizing Community Health Workers to Facilitate Delivery of Home-based Palliative Care in India.

Indian Journal of Palliative Care

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a home-based palliative care program delivered by community health workers (CHW) in rural areas outside of Kolkata, India. The specific aims were to assess CHWs' ability to implement the intervention protocol and maintain records of care, to characterize patient problems and CHW activities to assist patients, and to assess change in patient pain scores over the course of the intervention.

Four CHWs were hired to facilitate delivery of home-based palliative care services. CHWs were trained using the Worldwide Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance's Palliative Care Toolkit. CHWs provided care for patients for 3-months, making regular home visits to monitor health, making and implementing care plans, and referring patients back to the cancer center team for serious problems.

Eleven patients enrolled in the intervention, with ten of these patients participating in the intervention and one patient passing away before starting the intervention. All ten participants reported physical pain, for which CHWs commonly recommended additional or higher dose medication and/or instructed patients how to take medication properly. For two patients, pain levels decreased between baseline and end of study, while pain scores did not decrease for the remaining patients. Other symptoms for which CHWs provided care included gastro-intestinal, bleeding, and respiratory problems.

The study findings suggest that utilization of CHWs to provide palliative care in low-resource settings may be a feasible approach for expanding access to palliative care. CHWs were able to carry out the study visit protocol and assess and document patient problems and their activities to assist. They were also able to alleviate many common problems patients experienced with simple suggestions or referrals. However, most patients did not see a decrease in pain levels and more emphasis was needed on the emotional aspects of palliative care, and so CHWs may require additional training on provision of pain management and emotional support services.

Psychometric Properties of the 'Patients' Perspective of the Quality of Palliative Care Scale'.

Indian Journal of Palliative Care

Palliative care is a basic human right for all patients suffering from progressive and excruciating pain, limitations in daily activities as well as requiring constant care. The development of palliative care is always associated with the physical, psychological, social and spiritual care quality level and requires continuous evaluation by the care-receiving patients. This study aimed to determine the psychometric properties of the patients' perspective of the quality of palliative care scale.

This methodological study was conducted on 500 patients with chronic diseases admitted to the hospitals affiliated in Golestan University of Medical Sciences, between 2019 and 2020. Participants were selected through stratified sampling through proportional allocation as well as considering the bed occupancy rate in the two referral hospitals of the university. According to Wild approach, we translated the original version of the scale the patients' perspectives of the quality of the palliative care scale with 35 items and eight subscales. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, the psychometric properties of the scale (i.e., initial reliability and face, content, convergent and construct validities) were assessed. The reliability of the scale was calculated by applying Cronbach's alpha coefficient, McDonald's omega coefficient and the Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). SPSS-16 and AMOS-24 software programs were used to analyse the data.

Three items were omitted after assessing the initial reliability of the translated version of the perspectives of the quality of the palliative care scale using adjusted Cronbach's alpha. The qualitative face validity and impact score of the remaining items of the scale were confirmed by the target group. Meanwhile, a panel of experts confirmed the content validity ratio and content validity index. Convergent validity was approved by calculating the average variance extracted >0.5. Performing EFA led to the extraction of 7 subscales with 32 items. CFA and goodness of fit indices such as GFI = 0.98, CFI = 0.91, RMSEA = 0.048 and GFI = 0.97 confirmed the construct model by omitting three items. Hence, the Persian version of the patient's perspective of the quality of palliative care scale was finalised, including seven subscales with 29 items. ICC of >0.7 represented good reliability. Moreover, Cronbach's alpha and McDonald's omega coefficient confirmed the internal consistency of the scale.

Based on the findings of this study, the Persian version of the patients' perspective of the quality of palliative care scale is introduced as a valid and reliable scale. It can accurately indicate and predict the meticulous quality of such care in hospitalised patients and can be used in the cure and care assessments in the health system.

Understanding Long-Term Outcomes of Public Health Strategy in Palliative Care at Micro Level: Impact of Home-Based Palliative Care Services under Local Self-Government Institutions in Kerala, India.

Indian Journal of Palliative Care

Palliative care units under Local Self-Government Institutions (LSGIs) are increasing in number in the state of Kerala, India, since the announcement of the Pain and Palliative Care Policy, 2008. Whether these units are functioning with a view to materialise the long-term objectives, following the guidelines stipulated by the Government of Kerala and serve the neediest patients with quality care are a matter of debate. Hence, a microlevel study of the palliative care unit is attempted. The aims of the study were to understand the extent to which the structure and nature of functioning of the Pain and Palliative Care Unit under LSGI comply with guidelines set by the Pain and Palliative Care Policy of the Government of Kerala and to check whether the palliative care services are reaching the needy and, if so, are they provided to patients in good quality.

The award winning Pain and Palliative Care Unit attached to LSGI is selected for analysis and a hybrid research design is followed. Data are collected from 25 patients and their caregivers selected randomly. Mean score of satisfaction level on the basis of Quality care questionnaire -Palliative care is used.

Sample unit complies with the revised guidelines of 2015, Pain and Palliative Care Policy. It serves the neediest patients and the quality of care is satisfactory.

The study reaffirms the strength of the public health model in palliative care which can provide quality care to the neediest patients.

Assessment of Palliative Care Needs among People Living with HIV/ AIDS Attending Antiretroviral Therapy Outpatient Department in an Urban Slum of Mumbai: A Mixed Method Study.

Indian Journal of Palliative Care

According to WHO, Palliative care is an essential component of a comprehensive package of care for people living with HIV/AIDS. Lack of palliative care results in untreated symptoms that hamper an individual's ability to perform daily activities. The study aimed to explore the perceived Palliative care needs of People Living With HIV/AIDS and the association between socio- demographic profile with Palliative care needs.

It was a mixed method study conducted over 2 months in November and December 2020 at Link ART OPD of Urban Health Training Centre in Mumbai. Out of 120 registered patients,15 patients were selected for in-depth interview by purposive sampling. The remaining 105 patients were selected for quantitative part of the study by complete enumeration method. For Qualitative part, Thematic analysis of the transcripts was done. Data were coded using Microsoft word comment feature. Themes and categories were drawn from it. For Quantitative part, Data analysis was done using SPSS version 22. Chi- square test was applied to find out the association between socio- demographic profile & palliative care needs. P value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

The major themes identified were poor attitude towards the disease, lack of support and role of counselling. The common palliative care needs identified were need for financial assistance, family support and psychological support.

Palliative care should be introduced early in the care process by a team of providers who is aware of the patient's history and requirements.

Role of Manual Therapy for Neck Pain and Quality of Life in Head and Neck Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review.

Indian Journal of Palliative Care

Pain is the one the most dreadful side effects of head and neck cancers and cancer related treatments affecting patients during and after the treatment adding to the problems affecting their ability to speak, swallow, breath and feeding. Manual therapy is standard set of physiotherapy treatments used for alleviating neck pain. It has found to be effective in small subset of cancer patients for relieving pain.

To highlight the use of various manual therapy techniques focusing in decreasing neck pain and improving quality of life in Head and Neck Cancer survivors that may suggest its safe utilisation in oncology rehabilitation.

Electronic search was conducted in PubMed, Google Scholar, CINAHL, Pedro, and COCHRANE databases. Reference lists of the included studies and relevant reviews were manually searched. Studies that met the inclusion criteria were evaluated using McMaster critical review form for quantitative studies. A descriptive synthesis was undertaken due to the heterogeneity of the included studies.

Seven studies were assessed for risk of bias that comprised of three clinical trials, one case series and three case reports that applied Maitland's mobilisation, Myofascial release, Muscle Energy Techniques to head and neck cancer survivors in various clinical settings. The outcomes highlighted decrease in pain, improvement in cervical range of motion and quality of life.

This review recommends application of manual therapy to head and neck cancer survivors. However, authors caution application of manual therapy in terms of choosing a particular technique. Further, well designed larger sample size with randomisation and double blinding would help to generate better evidence for head and neck cancer survivors.