Prevalence and correlates of unmet palliative care needs in dyads of Chinese patients with advanced cancer and their informal caregivers: a cross-sectional survey

Tao Wang, Alex Molassiotis, Jing Yu Tan, Betty Pui Man Chung, Hou Qiang Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To examine palliative care needs of advanced cancer patients and their informal caregivers and correlates of their needs within Chinese context. Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey conducted in two study sites in Mainland China. Patients and caregivers were recruited in dyads. Patients completed the following questionnaires: Problems and Needs in Palliative Care-short version, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS), Medical Outcomes Study-Social Support Survey (MOS-SSS), Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced Scale (Brief-COPE), and Quality-of-Life Questionnaire Core 15-Palliative Care Scale. Questionnaires for caregivers were as follows: Comprehensive Needs Assessment Tool in Cancer for Caregivers, HADS, ESAS, MOS-SSS, Brief-COPE, and Caregiver Quality of Life Index-Cancer. All of the outcome variables were selected based on a conceptual framework of palliative care needs assessment. Results: Four hundred nineteen patient-caregiver dyads completed this survey. Patients’ unmet palliative care needs were mainly related to financial (85.2%), informational (82.3%), physical (pain) (69.7%), and psychological (64.9%) domains. Caregivers’ commonly reported unmet needs mainly focused on the domains of healthcare staff (95.0%), information (92.1%), and hospital facilities and services (90.5%). Patients’ greater severity of symptom distress, presence of anxiety and/or depression, use of coping strategies particularly the less use of problem-focused coping, and caregivers’ poorer quality of life were identified as key negative predictors of the needs of both patients and caregivers (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Both patients and caregivers had context-bounded palliative care needs. In addition to increasing the amount of external asistance, more emphasis should be placed on screening for physical and psychological distress, the use of coping strategies, and the well-being of caregivers to help identify those in need for more clinical attention and specific interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1683-1698
Number of pages16
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Cancer
  • Caregivers
  • Dyads
  • Needs
  • Palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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