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Depression is common: it affects one-quarter of those in palliative care.1 2 It may be associated with suicidal ideation or may have repercussions for treatment decision-making. Anxiety and depression are treatable (even in this population) with remission rates of >50% at 4 weeks.1 Depression is associated with reduced quality of life (QoL) and increased mortality, and along with anxiety, is an important target symptom for intervention.3 They are frequently underdetected and undertreated in palliative care.4
Detection may be difficult due to diagnostic overshadowing—somatic symptoms may arise from depression, high symptom burden or even treatment side effects. The European Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Depression in Palliative Care emphasises screening and a high clinical suspicion for anxiety and depression, given their prevalence.5 They recommend the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to screen for depression, as it has minimal focus on somatic symptoms.5
In a pilot study, we examined the acceptability of the HADS, along with a brief QoL measure, to screen for anxiety and depression across both hospital and hospice …
Contributors CS was responsible for data collection, basic analysis and drafting the manuscript. EMcM was responsible for supervision of data collection and analysis of data and reviewed the final manuscript. LR was responsible for supervision of data collection and reviewed the final manuscript. DW was responsible for design and reviewed the final manuscript. AMD was responsible for supervision of the project, including data collection and data analysis, and reviewed the final manuscript.
Funding This study was funded by a student summer scholarship from the Wellcome Trust.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval Ethical approval was obtained from the clinical research ethics committee of the Saolta Hospital Group (ref: C.A. 1834).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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