Quality of supportive care for patients with advanced cancer in a VA medical center

Jennifer L. Malin, Sean M. O'Neill, Steven M. Asch, Sydney M. Dy, Anne M. Walling, Diana Tisnado, Anna Liza Antonio, Karl A. Lorenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: Using the Assessing Symptoms Side Effects and Indicators of Supportive Treatment (ASSIST) quality indicators (QIs), we conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the quality of care provided in our institution to patients diagnosed with advanced cancer in 2006. Methods: Patients diagnosed with a Stage IV solid tumor were identified from the hospital's cancer registry. Using data abstracted from medical records, care was assessed using 41 explicit QIs. Mean percent adherence to QIs was calculated overall, as well as across five clinical domains: (1) Pain, (2) Depression and Psychosocial Distress, (3) Dyspnea, (4) Treatment Toxicity, (5) Other Symptoms, and (6) Information and Care Planning. Results: The study cohort (n = 118) was almost all male (2% female) and mean age was 65.9 years (standard deviation [SD] 9.9 years). The most common cancers were lung and head and neck cancer (23% each); 17% had prostate cancer; 13% had colorectal cancer; and the rest (24%) had breast, esophageal, stomach, genitourinary, liver/biliary, or pancreas cancer. Patients received 51% (95% confidence interval [CI] 48%-54%) of recommended care. Adherence to recommended care within domains ranged from 38% (95% CI 35%-42%) for Other Symptoms to 79% (95% CI 73%-86%) for Information and Care Planning. Conclusions: This study suggests that the quality of supportive care for patients with advanced cancer can be greatly improved. Future efforts should use the ASSIST indicators to evaluate the quality of supportive care in larger and more diverse cohorts of advanced cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-577
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Quality of supportive care for patients with advanced cancer in a VA medical center'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this