UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Home parenteral nutrition in British Columbia Smith, Margaret Anne


Parenteral nutrition is a therapy that supplies patients with all their nutritional requirements intravenously, thus eliminating the need for oral alimentation. The therapy was first introduced in the United States to hospitalized patients in the late 1960's. The benefit of long-term parenteral nutrition was soon recognized, and a program for ambulatory or home parenteral nutrition (HPN) was developed. In British Columbia, the first HPN patient was begun on such therapy in 1972. Since then, more than 50 British Columbians have received HPN. In March 1986, there were 24 patients on the program. The average annual cost per patient was $29,278 and the total 1986 operating budget was $702,660, not including costs for equipment or hospital training. Up to now, there has been no analytical assessment of the HPN program in B.C. This thesis describes the current home parenteral nutrition situation in B.C. and makes recommendations for its improvement. It looks at overall clinical outcomes (both physiological and psychosocial), at the results with different subgroups of the population, and at the cost of the HPN program in B.C., and also considers the potential of this therapy for children. In Chapter 2, the literature is reviewed and organized to cover a general description of HPN therapy, a summary of the results obtained from a number of academic centers, a review of HPN therapy in childhood and the psychosocial issues of concern to HPN patients. Chapter 3 provides a detailed description of the current HPN situation in B.C. The study methodology is described in Chapter 4 and the results in Chapter 5. The study is a descriptive analysis. Due to the lack of any obvious control group, a comparative evaluation per se was not possible. However, a Seattle study by Robb, reported in 1983, does allow for some comparison. The main sources of data were: 1. A Patient Questionnaire: The questionnaire was modelled on that used by the Seattle group. 23 B.C. patients, either on HPN at the time of questioning, or previously on the therapy, were surveyed. 19 (83%) responded. 2. A Health Professional Questionnaire: This questionnaire was compiled especially for and sent to all known health care workers in B.C. in the HPN field. 19 professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, and administrators, were surveyed. 17 responded for a response rate of 89%. The patient survey provided basic demographic information, a description of HPN therapy received, as well as data on clinical outcomes, both physiological and psychosocial. Results showed that patient age, length of time on HPN, numbers of hours per week devoted to HPN, occupation and place of residence were the most important variables for predicting patient outcomes. Thus, patients that were older, had been on HPN less than one year, or spent more than 80 hours per week preparing and administering HPN solutions, had more physiological complaints and showed interference with more daily activities and personal relationships. Patients who were employed, rated the HPN experience more positively. Overall, patients found the HPN experience to be a positive one, although this was not true for a small group of patients. Data also indicated that B.C. patients achieved physiological results similar to the Seattle group, and to other centers reported in the literature, but appeared to have more interference with daily activities and personal relationships than did patients from the Seattle study. The health professional survey indicated that professionals considered the current situation in B.C. to be good with respect to patient training and the complication rate achieved. However, patient follow-up and the psychosocial support provided to patients were rated only fair to poor. These health care professionals cited problems with the program's organization, the need to standardize service to all patients, and the need to provide patients with pre-mixed solutions. In conclusion, some recommendations are made for improvement in the B.C. HPN program.

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