Study: What determines the use of mental health services among patients in palliative care?

A new study published late last month in the journal Psycho-Oncology examined what drives cancer patients in palliative care to seek services for their depression or anxiety. The 149 participants were largely middle aged, female and white with a primary diagnosis of cancer.

Among those patients who screened positive for moderate depression or anxiety, half did not access readily available services to address their distress. Enabling factors, or factors that facilitate or impede a healthy behavior, played the strongest role in determining whether a patient sought care.

The authors suggest that further research is needed to explore strategies that improve service utilization, and to further identify barriers to treatment.