This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Many patients with cancer and their family members feel emotional and physical distress as they plan for, undergo, and recover from surgery.
Palliative care focuses on improving quality of life by preventing and relieving suffering. It can improve quality of life, symptoms, and survival in patients with cancer. Studies have shown the benefit of using palliative care with medical treatment for cancer, but no studies have looked at palliative care with cancer surgery.
This study is exploring whether palliative care helps patients having cancer surgery and their families.
Who can this research help?
Patients with cancer, their families, and doctors can use findings from this study to make decisions about care needs for surgery. Hospital administrators can use the study findings to inform decisions about services for patients with cancer.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is recruiting 380 patients who plan to have surgery for cancer in their pancreas, stomach, liver, gall bladder, or esophagus. Family members can also join the study. The team is assigning patients by chance to one of two groups. Both groups see their surgeon and surgical team before and after the surgery, and in the hospital. In one group, a palliative care team also sees patients before and after surgery, and in the hospital.
Before surgery and for three months after surgery, the team is measuring patients’ quality of life. The team is also tracking
- Patients’ physical distress
- Patient and family anxiety, depression, and spiritual distress
- Which healthcare services patients use
- Whether patients complete advance care plans
- What patients and family members understand about the patients’ illnesses
- Patient deaths
Patients, families, surgeons, and palliative care providers are working with the research team to design and conduct the study.
Research methods at a glance
Other Health Services Interventions
Training and Education Interventions
^This project was originally based at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.