Gynecologic Oncology Patients' Satisfaction and Symptom Severity During Palliative Chemotherapy

September 22, 2011

Research on quality and satisfaction with care during palliative chemotherapy in oncology patients has been limited. The objective was to assess the association between patient's satisfaction with care and symptom severity and to evaluate test-retest of a satisfaction survey in this study population.

Published 30 October 2006

Abstract
Background

Research on quality and satisfaction with care during palliative chemotherapy in oncology patients has been limited. The objective was to assess the association between patient's satisfaction with care and symptom severity and to evaluate test-retest of a satisfaction survey in this study population.

Methods
A prospective cohort of patients with recurrent gynecologic malignancies receiving chemotherapy were enrolled after a diagnosis of recurrent cancer. Patients completed the Quality of End-of-Life care and satisfaction with treatment scale (QUEST) once upon enrollment in an outpatient setting and again a week later. Patients also completed the Mini-Mental Status Exam, the Hospital Anxiety/Depression Scale, a symptom severity scale and a demographic survey. Student's t-test, correlation statistics and percent agreement were used for analysis.

Results
Data from 39 patients were analyzed. Mean (SD) quality of care summary score was 41.95 (2.75) for physicians and 42.23 (5.42) for nurses (maximum score was 45; p = 0.76 for difference in score between providers). Mean (SD) satisfaction of care summary score was 29.03 (1.92) for physicians and 29.28 (1.70) for nurses (maximum score was 30; p = 0.49 for difference between providers). Test-retest for 33 patients who completed both QUEST surveys had high percent agreement (74–100%), with the exception of the question regarding the provider arriving late (45 and 53%). There was no correlation between quality and satisfaction of care and symptom severity. Weakness was the most common symptom reported. Symptom severity correlated with depression (r = 0.577 p < 0.01). There was a trend towards a larger proportion of patients reporting pain who had three or more prior chemotherapy regimens (p = 0.075). Prior number of chemotherapy regimens or time since diagnosis was not correlated with symptom severity score. Anxiety and depression were correlated with each other (r = 0.711, p < 0.01). There was no difference in symptom severity score at enrollment between those patients who have since died (n = 19) versus those who are still alive.

Conclusion
The QUEST Survey has test-retest reliability when used as a written instrument in an outpatient setting. However, there was no correlation between this measure and symptom severity. Patient evaluation of care may be more closely related to the interpersonal aspects of the health care provider relationship than it is to physical symptoms.

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2006, 4:84 doi:10.1186/1477-7525-4-84