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A Framework for Symptom Assessment




Symptom control is a key component of comprehensive palliative care, and is a major emphasis of this book. This chapter aims to provide a generic framework for the assessment and understanding of symptoms in advanced disease. The chapter emphasises an integrated approach, recognising that various symptoms are often related. Unfortunately, most symptoms and their management are studied individually and understanding of this relationship is therefore currently limited, underscoring the need for further research in this area.


Contents include

  • Introduction
  • Defining symptoms
  • Symptom occurrence versus symptom distress
  • The problem of symptoms in advanced disease
  • Symptom assessment framework
    • Difference between occurrence and experience
    • Symptom occurrence
      • Assessing symptom occurrence by questioning
      • Assessing symptom occurrence by physical examination
    • Assessing symptom distress
      • The meaning of a symptom
      • Effect on daily living
      • Level of distress
  • Clarifying goals of treatment
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Author / Editor Biographies

MN, BAppSc (Advanced Nursing), RN, MRCN.
Professor Sanchia Aranda is Chief Executive Officer of the Cancer Council Australia. Her research focuses on the development and testing of interventions to address the supportive and palliative care needs of people with cancer.

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