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Determining the prevalence of palliative needs and exploring screening accuracy of depression and anxiety items of the integrated palliative care outcome scale - a multi-centre study.

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Rodrigues, Pedro Pereira 
Higginson, Irene J 
Ferreira, Pedro Lopes 


BACKGROUND: patients with palliative needs often experience high symptom burden which causes suffering to themselves and their families. Depression and psychological distress should not be considered a "normal event" in advanced disease patients and should be screened, diagnosed, acted on and followed-up. Psychological distress has been associated with greater physical symptom severity, suffering, and mortality in cancer patients. A holistic, but short measure should be used for physical and non-physical needs assessment. The Integrated Palliative care Outcome Scale is one such measure. This work aims to determine palliative needs of patients and explore screening accuracy of two items pertaining to psychological needs. METHODS: multi-centred observational study using convenience sampling. Data were collected in 9 Portuguese centres. INCLUSION CRITERIA: ≥18 years, mentally fit to give consent, diagnosed with an incurable, potentially life-threatening illness. EXCLUSION CRITERIA: patient in distress ("unable to converse for a period of time"), cognitively impaired. Descriptive statistics used for demographics. Receiving Operator Characteristics curves and Area Under the Curve for anxiety and depression discriminant properties against the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. RESULTS: 1703 individuals were screened between July 1st, 2015 and February 2016. A total of 135 (7.9%) were included. Main reason for exclusion was being healthy (75.2%). The primary care centre screened most individuals, as they have the highest rates of daily patients and the majority are healthy. Mean age is 66.8 years (SD 12.7), 58 (43%) are female. Most patients had a cancer diagnosis 109 (80.7%). Items scoring highest (=4) were: family or friends anxious or worried (36.3%); feeling anxious or worried about illness (13.3%); feeling depressed (9.6%). Using a cut-off score of 2/3, Area Under the Curve for depression and anxiety items were above 70%. CONCLUSIONS: main palliative needs were psychological, family related and spiritual. This suggests that clinical teams may better manage physical issues and there is room for improvement regarding non-physical needs. Using the Integrated Palliative care Outcome Scale systematically could aid clinical teams screening patients for distressing needs and track their progress in assisting patients and families with those issues.



Anxiety, Depression, End of life care, Outcome measurement, Palliative care, Patient centred outcome measures, Screening accuracy, Suffering, Aged, Anxiety, Depression, Female, Humans, Male, Mass Screening, Middle Aged, Needs Assessment, Palliative Care, Portugal, Prevalence, Surveys and Questionnaires

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BMC Palliat Care

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC