Comprehensive assessment of the elderly cancer patient: the feasibility of self-report methodology.
PURPOSE: Comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) has aided the medical community greatly in understanding the quality-of-life issues and functional needs of older patients. With its professional team assessment approach, however, CGA may be time consuming and costly. The goal of the present study was to assess the ability of cancer patients to complete a self-administered CGA and then to characterize cancer patients across multiple domains and age groups. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Two hundred sixty-six male outpatient oncology patients at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center were asked to fill out a survey assessing 10 domains (demographics, comorbid conditions, activities of daily living, functional status, pain, financial well being, social support, emotional state, spiritual well-being, and quality of life). RESULTS: Seventy-six percent of the patients who received their surveys and kept their appointments returned the assessment tool. Older oncology patients had significantly less education (P <.0001), income (P =.05), frequent exercise (P =.01), and chance of being disease free (P =.003) than younger patients. Other findings in older patients were a higher rate of marriage (P =.02), more difficulty in taking medications (P =.05), and less cigarette (P =.03) and alcohol (P =.03) use. Members of all age cohorts reported a sense of social support, with younger patients deriving this more from family and friends than older patients, and older patients deriving social support more from membership in religious communities than younger patients. No differences were found across age groups for number and impact of comorbid illnesses, number of medications, basic and instrumental activities of daily living, pain, overall health rating, financial adequacy, anxiety, depression, and quality of life. CONCLUSION: CGA can be conducted in an outpatient cancer community using a self-report format. Despite the fact that this population varied demographically across age groups and is limited to veterans, this study demonstrated remarkable similarities between younger and older cancer patients in terms of functional status, health states, and quality of life.
Ingram, SS; Seo, PH; Martell, RE; Clipp, EC; Doyle, ME; Montana, GS; Cohen, HJ
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