Effect Of Patient Education On Palliative Care Knowledge And Acceptability Of Outpatient Palliative Care Services Among Gynecologic Oncology Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Abstract [from journal]

Objectives: A randomized control trial (RCT) to estimate the effect of an interventional video on improving palliative care knowledge, acceptability and attendance to outpatient services in gynecologic oncology patients.

Methods: Women receiving treatment for gynecologic malignancy recruited at an academic tertiary care center were randomized to: palliative care educational video or non-directive cancer center video. The primary outcome was referral to palliative care. Function and knowledge were assessed using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy and the Palliative Care Knowledge Scale. Data analyses were performed using t-tests, Wilcoxon rank sum or Fisher's exact tests with significance level of α = 0.05.

Results: 111 women were enrolled. Demographic characteristics were equally distributed between groups with respect to age, race, cancer, and stage. There was no statistical difference in knowledge scores or in referral to palliative care between the patients that watched the educational versus control video (29% vs. 27%; p = .79). Secondary analysis showed a statistically significant increase in utilization of palliative care services compared to historic institutional data (8.8% to 31.5%; p ≤.001). Further, those referred had significantly worse baseline functional scores.

Conclusions: Use of a palliative care educational video did not increase knowledge or acceptability of palliative services within this RCT. However, the rate of patients referred to palliative care tripled compared to historic rates. Further studies should investigate whether discussion regarding palliative care services alone may increase desire for referral, and if use of Fact-G scores may identify patients in greatest need of services.