Radiotherapy asks for palliative care
G. Lo Presti1, C. Soloni2, M. Biggiogero1, A. Franzetti-Pellanda1 (1Lugano ; 2Locarno)
More than 1/3 of the patients in radiotherapy (RT) are treated with a palliative intent. However it is not clear how palliative care (PC) is perceive among the different work categories within a RT service.
A survey was administered to all the staff of a RT Service with the aim of assessing how much the attention on PC is present in the RT field, as well as the perception and training of the various professional figures.
An anonymous 21-open&close questions survey was administered to all professional figures operating within a RT Service of Italian Switzerland.
18 surveys were administered, with a 100% response rate. 77.7% of the participants are female, the most represented age group is 25-45 years (55.5%). 22.2% are doctors, 11.1% nurses, 27.7% radiology technicians, 22.2% medical physicists and 16.6% administrative staff. PC is considered by 88.8% of the participants as an important aspect in their profession, 94.4% believe that a radiotherapist should be included in a PC team. The open-ended questions revealed that there is a broad awareness of what PC is and a good knowledge of PC applications in RT. An high sensitivity emerges in recognizing the needs of the patients (100% of the participants say they have had the impression at least once that the pain of a patient was not sufficiently palliated). Only 44.4% of the participants attended lessons on PC, of which only 50% more than 10 hours of lessons; none more than 45 hours. 72.2% report that they would like to increase their training in PC. Only 44.4% of the participants report that they know the PC network of the Canton Ticino. Finally, 50% of the participants believe that PC is not accessible to all patients and that not all operators can easily deal with a PC team.
Although the sample studied is small, from these data emerges, also thanks to the 100% response rate, a quite realistic and descriptive picture of the current situation of training and perception of PC in a Swiss RT Service. As already assessed in other studies, both in RT and medical field, an important training’s need in PC emerges in our center, although there is a high awareness of its role in RT and a high sensitivity of the staff towards patients' needs.
A training intervention involving all the staff of the department, including technicians, medical physicists and administrative staff, could bring benefits for both patients and caregivers by increasing the accessibility in PC and the collaboration with the specialist teams of PC.