Stephanie Gilbertson-White on Palliative Care for Advanced Cancer Patients

Stephanie Gilbertson-White, PhD, APRN-BC, assistant professor, University of Iowa College of Nursing, discusses a pilot study that evaluated performance status, quality of life and survival in patients with advanced cancer who were referred to palliative care.

Stephanie Gilbertson-White, PhD, APRN-BC, assistant professor, University of Iowa College of Nursing, discusses a pilot study that evaluated performance status, quality of life and survival in patients with advanced cancer who were referred to palliative care.

Gilbertson-White says the study found that the patients in the study ended up falling into 3 groups. There was a group of patients that were alive after 12 weeks of initial palliative care treatment, one group that was lost to follow up primarily due to illness, and one group in which the patients had died.

After analyzing the groups, researchers found that the patients who were alive after 12 weeks had the best performance status at the time of palliative care referral. The researchers also found that the patients who had the least amount of time between their diagnosis and palliative care referral were more likely to be in the alive group after 12 weeks, Gilbertson-White says.

The group that was most likely to be lost to follow up after 12 weeks was the group with the lowest performance status. This group was also more likely to have longer time in between initial diagnosis and palliative care referral.

Interestingly, the group that had medium performance status were most likely to be in the group of patients who were deceased after 12 weeks. Gilbertson-White says more research is needed in this area.