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As the aging population in the nation increases, cancer diagnoses in this age group will also increase. The many chronic medical conditions associated with older adults are confounded by a diagnosis of cancer. Older adults with cancer are at risk for physical, psychological, and functional decline as a result of not only the cancer, but also the cancer treatment. In their current research agenda, the Oncology Nursing Society identified the need for research related to multiple comorbidities in older adults with cancer. This study utilized a cross-sectional, descriptive, correlational study design to explore the relationships between and among treatment-related decisional conflict, quality of life, and comorbidity in older adults with cancer. Oncology nurses recruited a sample size of 200 for this study from outpatient medical oncology, radiation oncology, and palliative care practices. Using an anonymous survey method, participants completed three psychometrically-sound instruments, including the Decisional Conflict Scale, Self-Administered Comorbidity Questionnaire, and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire. Bivariate relationships existed between increased levels of decisional conflict and increased quality of life (p = .009) and quality of life and comorbidity (p = .001). All six regression models achieved significance (p < .001). Statistically significant relationships were identified in each of the six regression models. Positive relationships existed between decisional conflict and financial problems, physical function, and global health status/quality of life. Increased emotional function may be predictive of decreased decisional conflict in all of the regression models. Other negative relationships existed between decisional conflict and cognitive function, diarrhea, spiritual support, insomnia, year diagnosed, fatigue, and nausea/vomiting. With their focus on patient-centered care, oncology nurses are a crucial component of the multidisciplinary cancer team that can empower older cancer patients to communicate their values and preferences regarding cancer treatment. Additionally, this study underscores the importance of oncology nurses being prepared to provide high-quality care to geriatric patients with multiple comorbidities. Given the paucity of research on the impact of cancer and its treatment on older adults, there are no published studies that address all of these variables. In light of the regression analyses, further research is needed with regard to emotional function, spiritual support, and symptom management in the setting of decision making in older adults with cancer.
Poster presented at: Oncology Nursing Society 42nd Annual Congress in Denver, CO
Treatment-Related Decisional Conflict, Quality of Life, and Comorbid Illness in Older Adults with Cancer, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Nursing, Oncology Nursing Society 42nd Annual Congress in Denver, Colorado
Geriatric Nursing | Nursing
Kates, PhD, MSN, GNP-BC, Jeannette, "Treatment-Related Decisional Conflict, Quality of Life, and Comorbid Illness in Older Adults with Cancer" (2017). College of Nursing Posters. 7.