Author(s): Higginson IJ, Wade AM, McCarthy M
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Abstract The palliative care of 227 consecutive patients by two support teams was measured according to 17 key indicators in the Support Team Assessment Schedule (STAS), an instrument previously developed and validated for use in these settings. Mean time in care was 71 days (range 1-547); 56 per cent of patients died at home, 26 per cent in hospital, 18 per cent in a hospice. Totalled ratings (sum of 15 items, excluding two items owing to missed ratings) improved in 83 per cent of cases, remained unchanged in 3 per cent and deteriorated in 13 per cent. The main problems which the STAS identified at referral were family anxiety, symptom control, patient anxiety and communication between patient and family. Fifteen of the 17 items showed significant improvements (Wilcoxon Z ranged from -3.18 to -8.20, p less than 0.00005) between referral ratings and ratings for the last week of the patient's life; family anxiety and spiritual needs did not. Patient anxiety and symptom control, although improved, also remained relatively severe at death. These results demonstrate the value of measuring key indicators and indicate areas where improvement in palliative care is needed.
This article was published in J Public Health Med
and referenced in International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology