Scale used in palliative care for evaluation of psihological distress

Asist. med. general Daniela Mihalcia1,2

1Spitalul Județean de Urgență Ploiești – Secția exterioară Obstretică – Ginecologie Ploiești, România, 2Asistent medical general

Primit: 7.07.2022 • Acceptat pentru publicare: 15.07.2022

Abstract

Accordingly to the definition, psychological distress is “a multi-factorial unpleasant emotional experience” that ranges in severity from ordinary sensations of vulnerability to mood disorders like depression and anxiety disorder. Among cancer patients, depression, anxiety, insomnia, insecurity and hopelessness are a common but largely ignored source of distress. All cancer patients experience a natural, albeit unpleasant, emotional response to their diagnosis, but a considerable proportion will develop severe depression. Both the diagnosis and treatment of cancer have the potential to cause anxiety, emotional instability and many psycho-emotional illnesses. Planning appropriate psycho-educational, psychosocial and therapeutic care for cancer patients and their families, taking into account the different psychological reactions of cancer patients, could be useful. Depression, if left unaddressed, can lead to non-compliance with treatment, increased length of hospital stay and death. There are multiple reasons of for emotional discomfort or suffering, which alter over time and the course of the disease highlights the need for a thorough and continuing examination of the patient’s health. There are several tools available to measure psycho-emotional distress. Some of the instruments were developed for cancer patients, while others are often used in psychiatric research or for populations with other medical conditions. These tools differ widely in complexity as well, from thorough quality-of-life measures incorporating mental health topics to straightforward visual analogue scales. The choice of questionnaire and scale used in screening and assessment of the psycho-emotional domain should take into account the disease state and treatment. The evaluation instruments should be simple to use and not require substantial training to enable practical use.

Keywords: tools, psycho-emotional, depression

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