Using a qualitative approach, this study set out to explore nurses’ management of patients with advanced cancer, weight loss and eating-associated problems. Extreme weight loss is commonly seen in patients with incurable solid tumour cancer and, to date, it has proved difficult to manage successfully. Currently, little is known about how nurses (often directly involved in the delivery of palliative care) assess weight loss and nutritional status in everyday practice in order to provide appropriate support. In this study, 14 semi-structured interviews were conducted with nurses from both hospital and community settings. The findings revealed that many nurses did not routinely provide early identification and assessment of nutritional status including weight loss, nor did they continue to monitor the patient’s progress or deterioration. Many nurses were reluctant to initiate conversations with cancer patients about weight loss, but instead waited for patients and relatives to raise their concerns. As a result, it is likely that informal assessment may have resulted in the reactive style of nutritional management seen. However, nurses interviewed received limited training, but were keen to learn more about nutritional assessment and management.
|Number of pages
|International Journal of Palliative Nursing
|Published - 22 Jun 2007