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Palliative Care Benefit Extends to Caregivers

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    Posted: May 19 2016 at 8:58pm
Palliative Care Benefit Extends to Caregivers, New Study Shows
“We can now say that the benefits of early palliative care can extend beyond patient outcomes and can actually positively impact family caregivers,” said Areej El-Jawahri.

Early palliative care integrated with oncology care benefits not only patients with cancer but also family caregivers, according to a phase 3 study whose results were presented in a presscast held in advance of the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

 At a 12-week analysis, primary caregivers — a category that could include family members or friends — reported fewer depression symptoms and improved vitality and social functioning compared to caregivers of patients receiving strictly medical care.  After 24 weeks, a lower rate of depression symptoms was persistent, but there was no difference observed in vitality and social functioning. 

“We can now say that the benefits of early palliative care can extend beyond patient outcomes and can actually positively impact family caregivers,” said Areej El-Jawahri during the presscast.

This is the first study to show such an impact, added El-Jawahri, an oncologist from Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. 

In total, 350 patients with newly diagnosed incurable lung or gastrointestinal cancers and 275 family caregivers were enrolled and randomized to receive usual oncology care (138 caregivers) or usual care in addition to palliative care (137 caregivers). 

In the palliative care visits, clinicians focused most on symptom management, coping, establishing rapport and “illness understanding.” The most common symptoms addressed were pain and fatigue, while the most common coping topics addressed were redirecting hope, coping counseling and behavioral coping. 

To read the entire article:

“This study really points out that we have so many ways to help our patients and their families through their treatment,” said Vose, who moderated the presscast. 

“Early palliative care is not only going to help the patient, but also help the family and the caregivers to get the patient through treatment with an improvement in their quality of life.” 

- See more at: http://www.curetoday.com/articles/palliative-care-benefit-extends-to-caregivers-new-study-shows?p=2#sthash.ZK9ucspZ.dpuf
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