Health care professionals' experience, understanding and perception of need of advanced cancer patients with cachexia and their families: The benefits of a dedicated clinic
AuthorScott, D; Reid, J; Hudson, P; Martin, P; Porter, S
Source TitleBMC Palliative Care
University of Melbourne Author/sHudson, Peter
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsScott, D., Reid, J., Hudson, P., Martin, P. & Porter, S. (2016). Health care professionals' experience, understanding and perception of need of advanced cancer patients with cachexia and their families: The benefits of a dedicated clinic. BMC PALLIATIVE CARE, 15 (1), https://doi.org/10.1186/s12904-016-0171-y.
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5203721
BACKGROUND: Cachexia is defined as the on-going loss of skeletal muscle mass that cannot be fully reversed by conventional nutritional support. It is found in up to 80% of patients with advanced cancer and has profound psycho-social consequences for patients and their families. Previous studies demonstrate that many healthcare professionals receive little formal education in cachexia management leading them to feel that they have limited understanding of the syndrome and cannot intervene effectively. This study aims to examine the value of a dedicated cachexia clinic and its influence on staff understanding and practice. METHODS: An exploratory qualitative study was conducted. The study employed semi-structured interviews with a range of healthcare professionals responsible for designing and delivering cancer care in a large teaching hospital in Australia. This hospital had a dedicated cachexia clinic. RESULTS: In-depth interviews were conducted with 8 healthcare professionals and senior managers. Four themes were identified: formal and informal education; knowledge and understanding; truth telling in cachexia and palliative care; and, a multi-disciplinary approach. Findings show that improved knowledge and understanding across a staff body can lead to enhanced staff confidence and a willingness to address cancer cachexia and its consequences with patients and their families. CONCLUSION: Comparisons with similar previous research demonstrate the advantages of providing a structure for staff to gain knowledge about cachexia and how this can contribute to feelings of improved understanding and confidence necessary to respond to the challenge of cachexia.
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