Holistic needs assessment and care plans for women with gynaecological cancer: do they improve cancer-specific health-related quality of life? A randomised controlled trial using mixed methods.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES

Holistic needs assessment (HNA) and care planning are proposed to address unmet needs of people treated for cancer. We tested whether HNA and care planning by an allied health professional improved cancer-specific quality of life for women following curative treatment for stage I-III gynaecological cancer.

METHODS

Consecutive women were invited to participate in a randomised controlled study (HNA and care planning vs usual care) at a UK cancer centre. Data were collected by questionnaire at baseline, 3 and 6 months. The outcomes were 6-month change in European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire-C30 (version 3), global score (primary) and, in EORTC subscales, generic quality of life and self-efficacy (secondary). The study was blinded for data management and analysis. Differences in outcomes were compared between groups. Health service utilisation and quality-adjusted life years (QALY) (from Short Form-6) were gathered for a cost-effectiveness analysis. Thematic analysis was used to interpret data from an exit interview.

RESULTS

150 women consented (75 per group); 10 undertook interviews. For 124 participants (61 intervention, 63 controls) with complete data, no statistically significant differences were seen between groups in the primary endpoint. The majority of those interviewed reported important personal gains they attributed to the intervention, which reflected trends to improvement seen in EORTC functional and symptom scales. Economic analysis suggests a 62% probability of cost-effectiveness at a £30 000/QALY threshold.

CONCLUSION

Care plan development with an allied health professional is cost-effective, acceptable and useful for some women treated for stage I-III gynaecological cancer. We recommend its introduction early in the pathway to support person-centred care.

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