A simple system for symptom assessment in pediatric palliative care patients with cancer: A preliminary report

Title

A simple system for symptom assessment in pediatric palliative care patients with cancer: A preliminary report

Creator

Madden K; Charone M; Dibaj S; Mills S; Williams J L; Liu D; Bruera E

Publisher

Journal of Clinical Oncology. Conference

Date

2018

Subject

anorexia; caregiver; child; conference abstract; controlled study; fatigue; female; health care quality; human; insomnia; irritability; loss of appetite; major clinical study; male; malignant neoplasm; nervousness; pain; palliative therapy; symptom assessment

Description

Background: Systematic symptom assessment is not a standard of care in children with cancer. Many well-known symptom assessment tools are lengthy or difficult to integrate into a daily pediatric palliative care practice. We created a series of brief and simple questions to be systematically given to children and their caregivers. The primary objective was to determine the percentage of eligible children and caregivers exposed to the questions that were able to complete the assessment. Secondary objectives included documenting the symptom burden at time of consultation, evaluating the level of agreement in symptom reporting between children and caregivers, as well as between children/caregivers and the referring medical team. Method(s): A series of systematic questions were presented to all caregivers (if present) and children who were 7 years of age or older at time of initial consultation with pediatric palliative care. Result(s): 122 consecutive children and caregivers were given the survey. 107/108 (99%) of eligible caregivers and 83/97 (86%) of eligible children successfully completed the survey. Lack of appetite (child - 72/83, 87%; caregiver - 89/107, 83%) and pain (child - 71/83, 86%; caregiver - 86/107, 80%) were the most commonly reported symptoms. Caregivers reported irritability (p = 0.005) and nervousness (p < 0.0001) more frequently than children. Referring medical teams significantly under-diagnosed psychological and other less clinically evident symptoms such as anorexia, fatigue, and insomnia (p < 0.0001). Conclusion(s): Our series of questions is easy to complete by children and caregivers. Systematic symptom assessment of children with cancer needs to become a true standard of care.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

Oncology 2019 List

Collection

Citation

Madden K; Charone M; Dibaj S; Mills S; Williams J L; Liu D; Bruera E, “A simple system for symptom assessment in pediatric palliative care patients with cancer: A preliminary report,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed August 4, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/16953.

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