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Age-Related Differences in Quality of Life in Cancer Patients: A Pilot Study of a Cancer Care Coordination/Home-Telehealth Program

Mkanta, William N. PhD; Chumbler, Neale R. PhD; Richardson, Lisa C. MD, MPH; Kobb, Rita F. MS, ARNP

doi: 10.1097/01.NCC.0000300167.80466.91
Articles

The cancer care dialogues model emphasizes daily telehealth interactions between patients and a care coordinator (a registered nurse serving as a liaison to the oncologist) to assist patients in the management of common chemotherapy-related symptoms at home. We examined the impact of the dialogues on age-related differences in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among newly diagnosed cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. We assessed HRQOL among 34 patients, including 15 older adults (65 years or older) and 19 younger adults who were followed for 6 months. Older patients consistently reported better HRQOL scores over the treatment period. In multivariate analysis, older patients reported 10.35 points higher in HRQOL (P = .007). In addition, patients who reported no nervousness while undergoing chemotherapy had an 8.60-point increase in HRQOL scores (P = .012). The dialogues model can make important improvement in symptom management and HRQOL, especially in older adults receiving chemotherapy. Older and younger adults with cancer may benefit equally in cancer treatment in a setting with appropriately managed symptoms. The dialogues model offers promising potential for promoting nurses' better understanding of both the patient needs as the patient receives treatment and innovative technologies in patient management.

Authors' Affiliations: Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (Drs Mkanta and Chumbler); VA HSR&D/RR&D Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Center, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, Gainesville, Florida (Dr Chumbler); Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Richardson); and the Veterans Health Administration, Office of Care Coordination, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, District of Columbia (Ms Kobb).

This research was funded by an interagency agreement between the National Cancer Institute and Veterans Health Administration. Also, this work is the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities at the Department of Veterans Affairs HSR&D/RR&D Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Center, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, Gainesville, Florida.

Corresponding author: William N. Mkanta, PhD, Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy, University of Florida, PO Box 100185, Gainesville, FL 32610-0185 (wnmkanta@phhp.ufl.edu).

Accepted for publication May 17, 2007.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.