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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 62

of 'Pediatric palliative care'

Sleep disturbances in palliative cancer patients attending a pain and symptom control clinic.
Sela RA, Watanabe S, Nekolaichuk CL
Palliat Support Care. 2005;3(1):23.
OBJECTIVE: The nature of sleep disturbances in palliative cancer patients has not been delineated clearly or fully understood due to limited clinical information. The purpose of this study was to describe sleep disturbance patterns, treatments, and communication in an advanced cancer outpatient population attending a pain and symptom control clinic.
METHOD: One hundred oncology outpatients who came for consultation at a multidisciplinary pain and symptom control clinic were asked and agreed to complete a self-report questionnaire that elicited information about their sleeping habits, sleep concerns, sleep enhancement strategies, and related communication with health care providers.
RESULTS: The majority of participants (72%) reported a wide variety of sleep disturbances, after cancer diagnosis, with the three most frequent elevated symptoms (>or = 5) being not feeling rested in the morning (72%), difficulty staying asleep (63%), and difficulty falling asleep (40%). Approximately one-fifth of participants (19%) reported having insomnia problems prior to their cancer diagnosis. In a correlational comparison with four other symptoms (i.e., fatigue, pain, anxiety, depression), the three highest correlations were between difficulty falling asleep and fatigue (r = 0.612), early awakening and fatigue (r = 0.596), and difficulty falling asleep and anxiety (r = 0.572). Fifty-three percent of participants reported using a variety of interventions for their sleep problems, the most frequent being sleep medication (37%). Of the 52 participants who reported an elevated level of concern about their sleeping difficulties (>or = 5), 48 (92%) discussed their concerns with a health care provider. However, of the 20 participants with elevated symptoms (>or = 5) and low levels of concern (<5), only 7 (35%) communicated their concerns to a health care provider.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The results of this study underline the importance of routine clinical assessments to detect sleep problems and interventions designed specifically to improve the overall sleep quality of cancer patients.
Psychosocial and Spiritual Resources, Cross Cancer Institute, Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. ramisela@cancerboad.ab.ca