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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • nurse roles;
  • nursing assessment;
  • quality of life;
  • wound care

lo s.-f., hayter m., hu w.-y., tai c.-y., hsu m.-y. & li y.-f. (2012) Symptom burden and quality of life in patients with malignant fungating wounds. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(6), 1312–1321.

Abstract

Aim.  This study describes the relationship between symptoms and quality of life in patients with malignant fungating wounds.

Background.  Malignant fungating wounds are complex wounds that can bleed, become malodorous due to infection and are painful causing physical and psychological distress. However, there is a lack of literature on the impact that such wounds can have on quality of life.

Methods.  This was a descriptive, cross-sectional multi-centre study of patients with malignant fungating wounds. Participants were recruited from the palliative care, hospice, outpatient clinic and oncology units of three medical centres in Taiwan. Data were collected from February 2008 to August 2009. A structured questionnaire obtained socio-demographic information, medical details, wound assessment information and the Taiwanese version of the McGill quality of life questionnaire was administered by interview.

Results.  McGill quality of life scores indicated that the participants had the lowest quality of life. The participant’s age, dressing change frequency, pain, wound dressing comfort, wound symptom, bleeding and malodour had statistically significant negative correlations with quality of life. Multiple regression analysis showed that age, malodour, pain issues and psychological issues explained 87% of the total variance in quality of life.

Conclusion.  This study contributes to our understanding of the impact of malignant fungating wounds and how correct assessment and management is necessary to improve quality of life. Educational intervention research is needed for patients and caregivers in countries where this has not yet been performed. Further research should also identify whether nursing competence has a direct impact on quality of life.