Sociodemographic, clinical, and psychological characteristics identify groups of Italian cancer patients with high rates of unmet needs.
Bonacchi A., Fazzini E., Messina S., Muraca MG., Pacetti P., Di Miceli S., Miccinesi G.
<h4>Purpose</h4>Although an optimal goal remains the routine assessment of unmet needs of all patients with cancer, particular attention should be paid to those groups of patients with characteristics known to be more frequently associated with unmet needs in general or with specific areas of need. This report aims to describe the sociodemographic, clinical, and psychological characteristics associated with higher unmet needs in Italian cancer patients.<h4>Methods</h4>A total of 835 cancer patients from different care settings (ward, day hospital, follow-up ambulatory, rehabilitation unit, and palliative care) filled out the Needs Evaluation Questionnaire (NEQ), the Psychological Distress Inventory, and the Sense of Coherence Scale. Association of NEQ scores with the clinical and demographic variables were tested using analysis of variance.<h4>Results</h4>Higher NEQ total score was associated with lower educational level, inpatient care setting, radiotherapy treatment, psychological distress, and lower resilience trait sense of coherence. Different predictors were identified for different areas of unmet needs. Care setting, psychological distress, and resilience trait were the strongest indicators of unmet needs in every area: information/communication, assistance/care, material needs, relational needs, and psychoemotional support.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Clinicians should consider that inpatients with a high distress and a low resilience trait sense of coherence represent a group of cancer patients to be investigated with particular attention regarding unmet needs.