Current guidance, nationally and internationally, would suggest within oncology and hospice outpatient settings holistic assessment be completed. However how this should occur and what assessment tool be used, there is no agreed consensus.
Aim To explore the use of a validated patient reported symptom assessment tool within a lung oncology and hospice outpatient setting.
Methodology An exploratory study looking at patient reported ESAS-r assessment form completion prior to attending their clinic review with an oncology and hospice setting and the data collected, analysed for comparison.
Results Total number of Hospice patents: 22 (male13: female 9), age: 42–80 versus total number of Oncology out patients: 26 (male14: female 12), age: 54–91. The median total symptom score for hospice outpatients was 34.5/100 versus median total score for Oncology outpatients was 23.5/100. Tiredness (6.5/10) and drowsiness (5/10) were the high scoring symptoms within hospice outpatients while tiredness (5/10) and wellbeing (5/10) were in the lung cancer outpatient setting. The median score for pain and shortness of breath was 3/10 & 0/10 in Hospice patients versus 1/10 & 1.75/10 in Oncology clinic patients.
Conclusion The symptom scores were comparable and not surprisingly the median scores were higher in the hospice outpatient setting. The physical and psychological symptoms scored significantly higher in the hospice outpatient population. The authors acknowledge the small sample size and this was an exploratory piece of work. However, clinicians found the ESAS-r tool to be clinically useful and helped focus discussions about what was important from a patient's agenda but helped in the disclosure of commonly ignored symptoms such as fatigue. This then prompted further assessment for eligibility for clinical trials specifically directed at fatigue management. Therefore the use of a patient, self-reported holistic assessment tool is a useful addition to oncology and hospice outpatient clinics.
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