Projected referral to other healthcare services in an outpatient palliative radiotherapy clinic.
ABSTRACT To investigate the projected referral to other healthcare services in an outpatient palliative radiotherapy clinic.
Patients referred for palliative radiotherapy from 1999 to 2002 inclusive and 2007 to 2009 inclusive were evaluated. The Edmonton Symptom Assessment System, which assesses nine symptoms, was completed by 1439 patients prior to radiotherapy consultation. The numeric scale was converted into a categorical scale of none, mild, moderate and severe. Patients with moderate-to-severe symptoms were identified as potential referrals to other healthcare services.
Tiredness (66%), poor sense of wellbeing (64%), pain (57%) and poor appetite (52%) had the most patients scoring in the moderate-to-severe range. Moderate-to-severe anxiety and depression occurred in 39 and 30% of patients, respectively, reflecting the percentage of projected referrals for symptom and/or psychosocial management.
Cancer symptoms are complex, and a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach should be taken to provide timely management and maintain patients' quality of life.