The purpose was to describe the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs of patients with non-cancer serious illness diagnoses compared to those of patients with cancer.
We conducted a retrospective chart review of all patients with a non-cancer diagnosis admitted to a tertiary palliative care unit between January 2008 and December 2017 and compared their needs to those of a matched cohort of patients with cancer diagnoses. The prevalence of needs within the following four main concerns was recorded and the data analyzed using descriptive statistics and content analysis: •Physical: pain, dyspnea, fatigue, anorexia, edema, and delirium•Psychological: depression, anxiety, prognosis, and dignity•Social: caregiver burden, isolation, and financial•Spiritual: spiritual distress.
The prevalence of the four main concerns was similar among patients with non-cancer and cancer diagnoses. Pain, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, and anorexia were more prevalent among patients with cancer. Dyspnea was more commonly the primary concern in patients with non-cancer diagnoses (39%), who also had a higher prevalence of anxiety and concerns about dignity. Spirituality was addressed more often in patients with cancer.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS:
The majority of patients admitted to tertiary palliative care settings have historically been those with cancer. The tertiary palliative care needs of patients with non-cancer diagnoses have not been well described, despite the increasing prevalence of this population. Our description of the palliative care needs of patients with non-cancer diagnoses will help guide future palliative care for the increasing population of patients with non-cancer serious illness diagnoses.||en_US