Tan Tock Seng Hospital1
The number of women suffering and dying from breast cancer worldwide every year is high and this population often have high and complex symptom burden requiring management in both physical and psychosocial areas. Home-based palliative care services provide care for terminally ill patients in their own homes but it has not been proven effective in this population. This study aims to investigate if a home-based palliative care service provided by a community based palliative team is effective in addressing concerns and problems in patients with advanced breast cancer, and if any patient specific factors correlate with the effectiveness of the intervention.
The study is a secondary data analysis of a longitudinal cohort study. Both quantitative and qualitative analysis were undertaken.
The study showed a statistically significant improvement in both the pain item, depression item and the total integrated palliative outcome scale scores at baseline and on follow-up assessment. However, there was no statistically significant effect seen in the emotional subscale.
To conclude, a home-based palliative care service is effective in addressing the needs and concerns of the advanced breast cancer population, offering insight into the importance of this service. It is seen to be more effective for patients with Stage III advanced breast cancer and in those who do not have a partner. The study also highlights that the intervention has not sufficiently addressed the needs and concerns in the psychosocial domains. Qualitative studies are warranted to gain insight into the psychosocial needs of advanced breast cancer patients.