Palliative Care  |  Initial Assessment

Palliative Care

Initial Assessment

Palliative care should be provided according to an individual's need and may be suitable whether death is days, weeks, months or occasionally years away. In most cases the patient's prognosis might be expected to be less than 1 year. Prognostic Indicator

Palliative care might be appropriate for those suffering from:

  • Cancer
  • Organ Failure - renal, heart, COPD
  • Multiple Sclerosis Motor Neurone Disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimers and related dementia’s

* although this is by no means a complete list.

The following questions might be appropriate to help determine the complexity of the palliative care required and therefore help determine if a hospice should be involved:

Area of patient's experience Suggested assessment question
Physical symptoms What symptom bothers you most?
Pain How much pain have you had in the last week?
Depression Are you feeling depressed?
Financial Is your illness causing much financial hardship to you or your family?

How much help do you need with your personal care?

How much help have you needed from someone in your family?

Social support Is there someone you can confide in and talk to about yourself or your problems? How often is there someone to have a good time with?

Do you have a faith?

Since your illness have you become more or less spiritual or religious?

Hopes & expectations Is there a something special, like an event, that would add a great deal of meaning to your life?
Advance care planning Have you talked to your family, or anyone, about your preferences for medical care in case of a life-threatening situation?

*References; Emanuel EJ, Emanuel LL. The promise of a good death. (review) Lancet 1998; 351 Suppl 2:SII21-

The Bay Navigator pathway offers GPs options to assist patients with many and varied aspects of care. If support is required in multiple areas it may be time to involve hospice services, as palliative care needs are being assessed.

Prognostic indicator

At this stage it would be appropriate to consider Advance Care Planning for your patient

Last updated : Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Next review date : Thursday, January 24,2019

Disclaimer: This site is intended to be flexible and frequently updated. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, all information should be verified.