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The pattern of symptoms in patients receiving home based care in Bangwe, Malawi : a descriptive study

Bowie, Cameron; Kalilane, Linda; Cleary, Paul and Bowie, Claire (2006) The pattern of symptoms in patients receiving home based care in Bangwe, Malawi : a descriptive study. BMC Palliative Care, 5 . Article Number: 1. ISSN 1472-684X

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



Background: Home based care of HIV/AIDS patients is a health need recommended but not often available in Africa. Population based assessment helps to identify unmet health needs to plan services. Careful assessment and follow up of patients receiving home based care in a defined population of Bangwe, Malawi provides details of the frequency and severity of common symptoms. Methods: Mortality and the incidence, duration and severity of common symptoms of patients in a defined population receiving home based care were measured over an eighteen month period. Results: 358 patients, of whom 199 died, were studied. A third of patients died within 4 months of being first seen. About half the patients were unable to care for themselves on first assessment. Half were malnourished with a Body Mass Index (BMI) < 18.5 kg/m2. Most patients had a mixture of symptoms at presentation. These symptoms responded to treatment usually within a fortnight. However a small proportion (5%) of patients suffered repeated episodes often as many as 6–9 times a year. Incidence rates are estimated. Conclusion: Symptoms which are alleviated by simple treatments are common. The patients in whom symptoms recur need a responsive home based care service. Population based estimates of incidence and duration of disease and the visit work load allow an assessment of home based care needs in an urban setting in Africa.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Published: 10 February 2006. 7 pages (page numbers not for citation purposes). Paul Cleary is affiliated with the Department of Public Health, University of Liverpool, UK.
Uncontrolled Keywords:HIV; AIDS; Palliative Care; Malawi; Bangwe project
Subjects:R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Faculty of Medicine > School of Population, Community & Behavioural Sciences
Publisher's Statement:© 2006 Bowie et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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ID Code:715
Deposited On:26 Jun 2008 13:48
Last Modified:19 May 2011 21:12

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