Special Issue

Home-based palliative care for adult cancer patients in Ibadan—a three year review

11 Dec 2014
NE Omoyeni, OA Soyannwo, OO Aikomo, OF Iken

Home-based palliative care is a recognised model of health service provision globally, but is just emerging in Nigeria. The aim of this study is to review the spectrum of adult cancer patients involved in home-based palliative care, the services provided, outcome and benefits.

Methods: Records of all adult cancer patients seen on home-based palliative care between March 2009 and January 2013 by the hospice and palliative care unit, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan were reviewed. Their biographical data, days on programme, diagnosis, stage of disease, major complaint, pain score, other symptoms, services offered, number of home visits, follow-up, and outcomes were extracted, reviewed, and analysed. The data were analysed using SPSS version 16.0.

Results: Sixty patients were enrolled during the study period: there were 20 (33.3%) males and 40 (66.7%) females out of a total of 787 patients. All of them reside within catchment area of the hospice. Breast and prostate cancer constitute 21.7% each, gastrointestinal 16.7%, liver 11.7%, and cervical cancer 10.0%. Homes were visited 1–23 times per person. Days on programme ranged from 9–1207 days
(average: 286 days). Pain was reported by 52 (86.7%) with scores of 7 to10 in 26 (50.0%). Only eight (13.3%) were pain-free. Services offered included pain and other symptom control, counselling and training for carers at home, provision of funds and comfort packs, bereavement services. The cost of services was heavily subsidised by the Centre for Palliative Care, Nigeria (CPCN), a non-governmental
organisation and UCH. Although all patients are now deceased, the compassionate care received at a subsidised cost was highly valued, as shown from the appreciative comments of relations and carers.

Conclusion: Home-based palliative care provided at low cost was beneficial to patients and their families. More can be achieved through the training of more health professionals, increased funding, and increased public awareness of the services.

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