Aims and objective. To determine the health care needs of patients after surgical resection of lung cancer at discharge and evaluate the significance of factors associated with such needs.
Background. Other studies have found that symptom distress level, social supports and health beliefs are associated with health care needs.
Design. Sixty-two participants were recruited from a thoracic surgery clinic at a medical centre in Taipei from July–December 2005. Data related to demographic variables, disease characteristics, functional status, symptom distress and social support were collected.
Methods. The patients were administered the Karnofsky Performance Scale, the Symptom Distress Scale–Chinese Modified Form, the Social Support Scale (adapted from the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List), the Health Needs Scale and self-reported rating scales for pain. Data were analysed using Pearson’s correlation coefficients and linear regression models.
Results. Pulmonary function was found to be correlated with the level of need for health care information and physiological care. Self-perceived symptom distress and degree of distress were also correlated with levels of need for information, physiological care and psychosocial care. The level of pain was found to be correlated with the level of need for health care information and physiological care. After controlling for pain level, multivariate analysis revealed that self-perceived symptom severity (p = 0·032) and degree of distress (p = 0·043) were modestly correlated with the need for health care.
Conclusions. Pulmonary function, self-perceived symptom distress, degree of distress and level of pain were correlated with the level of need for health care information and physiological care. Self-perceived symptom severity and degree of distress were independent predictors of health care needs.
Relevance to clinical practice. Administration of relevant questionnaires to assess postoperative symptom distress may be necessary for optimal disease management.