Parenteral Nutrition in Advanced Cancer: The Healthcare Providers’ Perspective
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Introduction The evidence base for parenteral nutrition (PN) in advanced cancer patients is limited. We studied healthcare providers’ (HCPs’) experiences with PN in cancer patients, focusing on perceived treatment benefits and challenges. Methods An 18-item online survey was emailed to HCPs attending one of three regional palliative care seminars held within a 6-month period. The survey included single-response items, multiple-response items, and free text boxes concerning PN. Descriptive statistics and qualitative thematic content analysis were applied. Results One hundred and two seminar participants completed the survey. Ninety-three percent were female, 86% were nurses/oncological nurses, and 80% worked in primary care. Respondents reported a well-functioning collaboration across levels of care. They perceived that PN may increase the patients’ level of energy, improve the general condition, and reduce eating-related distress. On the downside, HCPs observed burdensome side effects, that the treatment was resource-demanding, and that decisions on PN withdrawal were difficult. Conclusion The study results are based on the perspectives of more than 100 HCPs with comprehensive clinical experience with PN. Their knowledge represents an important experience base for improvement of healthcare services and advanced care planning.