Fatigue




Approximately 50–80% of people in the palliative care setting suffer from significant fatigue. In other conditions, such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis, a similar incidence has been reported. Finally, fatigue is not a symptom confined to Western populations. Different cultures also report a similar incidence. While the treatment of fatigue is complex and requires interventions from a multidisciplinary team, it is a symptom worth addressing as it can profoundly affect a person’s quality of life and commitment to continuing with treatment. Over the past decade, there has been an increasing awareness around fatigue. There has been an accompanying change in attitude towards the management of fatigue. A difference can be made in a person’s life with evidenced-based interventions. Importantly, it is no longer assumed that just because a person has a condition that cannot be cured, fatigue is inevitable. However, in spite of this increased awareness, fatigue continues to be under-recognised, under-assessed and under-treated. Nurses have much to contribute to the management of this symptom. This chapter covers the causes, assessment and management of fatigue.


Contents include

  • Definitions of fatigue
  • Causes and pathophysiology
  • Assessment
  • Interventions
  • Non-pharmacological interventions
  • Case studies.
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Author / Editor Biographies

RN, BAppSci, MN and PhD.
Katrina Breaden is a Lecturer and a Course Coordinator for the Palliative Programs at Flinders University. She is also Academic Director of the Distance Education Course for Palliative Care Nurses offered by the International Institute of Palliative and Supportive Studies. Katrina is also involved in teaching students from the Asia-Pacific region, a program offered in Singapore each year. Her special interests include teaching palliative care across cultures, communication at the end of life and palliative clinical management. Katrina's research interests are in the areas of refractory sufferi...

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