Background Dyspnoea is a common and distressing symptom in advanced cancer patients. Our preliminary work shows that in the home palliative care population sampled for this study, the prevalence of dyspnoea is 29.5% and of those, 26.2% used oxygen therapy. Previous studies suggested that oxygen therapy can be a burden to patients.
Purpose This study seeks to report the prevalence and describe the experience of dyspnoea, pattern of oxygen use, and patients' perceived benefits and/or burdens of oxygen therapy in home palliative care patients receiving oxygen therapy.
Methods Qualitative indepth interviews, using an interview guide, were conducted with eight participants in their homes. Thematic analysis was performed using a framework approach.
Results All patients in this project used oxygen most of the time. The descriptions of shortness of breath varied and were non-specific. The patients identified more advantages than disadvantages. The advantages of oxygen use included increased functional capacity, patients' perceiving oxygen as a life-saving intervention, as well as a symptom-management tool. The identified disadvantages were decreased mobility, discomfort related to the nasal prongs, barriers to accessing oxygen therapy and noise related to the equipment.
Conclusion The advantages of oxygen usage outweighed the disadvantages for this sample of patients in the home palliative setting.
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