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Steinhauser KE, Alexander SC, Byock IR, George LK, Olsen MK, Tulsky JA. Do preparation and life completion discussions improve functioning and quality of life in seriously ill patients? Pilot randomized control trial. Journal of palliative medicine. 2008 Nov 1; 11(9):1234-40.
BACKGROUND: Significant palliative care intervention has focused on physical pain and symptom control; yet less empirical evidence supports efforts to address the psychosocial and spiritual dimensions of experience. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of an intervention (Outlook) that promotes discussions of end-of-life preparation and completion on health outcomes in dying persons, including pain and symptoms, physical function, emotional function (anxiety and depression), spiritual well-being, and quality of life at the end of life. DESIGN: A three-arm pilot randomized control trial. Subjects were recruited from inpatient and outpatient hospital, palliative care, and hospice settings. Intervention subjects met with a facilitator three times and discussed issues related to life review, forgiveness, and heritage and legacy. Attention control subjects met with a facilitator three times and listened to a nonguided relaxation CD. True control subjects received no intervention. MEASUREMENTS: Preoutcomes and postoutcomes included the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale, QUAL-E, Rosow-Breslau ADL Scale, Profile of Mood States anxiety sub-scale, the CESD short version, and the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale. RESULTS: Eighty-two hospice eligible patients enrolled in the study; 38 were women, 35 were African American. Participants' primary diagnoses included cancer (48), heart disease (5) lung disease (10), and other (19) Ages ranged from 28-96. Participants in the active discussion intervention showed improvements in functional status, anxiety, depression, and preparation for end of life. CONCLUSIONS: The Outlook intervention was acceptable to patients from a variety of educational and ethnic backgrounds and offers a brief, manualized, intervention for emotional and spiritual concerns.