AIM: The aim of this study was to compare patients' global impression (PGI) and the achievement of personalised symptom goal response (PSGR), after a comprehensive palliative care treatment in advanced cancer patients having high (HPSG) and low symptom goals (LPSG).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Advanced cancer patients admitted to palliative care units rated symptoms intensity by the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Score (ESAS) at admission and then after one week of comprehensive palliative care treatment. For each symptom, patients were divided into two groups, according to their patient symptom goal (PSG): ≥4 (HPSG), and 0-2 (LPSG). PGI and PSGR were evaluated after one week of palliative care. The Memorial Delirium Assessment Scale (MDAS) was assessed at admission.
RESULTS: After one week of palliative care, changes in ESAS items were significantly larger in the HPSG group. HPSG patients had a better PGI and reached their target more frequently than LPSG patients for pain, weakness, and poor well-being. LPSG patients were more likely to obtain their target for appetite and insomnia. HPSG patients were more likely to have a lower Karnofsky, a lower educational level, older age, or higher MDAS values for the different ESAS items.
CONCLUSION: Advanced cancer patients with low expectations (HPSG) were more likely to achieve their PSGR after a comprehensive palliative care treatment, reporting also a better PGI for some leading symptoms such as pain, weakness, and poor well-being. More fragile patients seem to have lower expectations and to be more likely to be satisfied.