Although widespread, psycho-existential symptoms were frequently overlooked or ignored in palliative care. Finding and meeting the need could be accomplished through screening. For a study, researchers sought to determine the symptom prevalence found, they sought to routinely employ the Psycho-existential Symptom Assessment Scale (PeSAS) as a screening tool in Australian palliative care facilities.

They created implementation site committees and started experiential workshops to teach clinicians how to effectively utilize the tool in a multi-site rolling design. Data on the prevalence of patient symptoms were gathered to compare uptake between locations. The use of descriptive statistics was used.

Over the course of a year, they educated 216 medical professionals from 6 palliative care agencies on how to utilize the PeSAS as a screening tool and gathered information on 1,405 patients. Clinicians stated that their confidence in their ability to evaluate psycho-existential health had significantly increased. Services with electronic records were the easiest to adopt. Anxiety, discouragement, hopelessness, pointlessness, sadness, and the desire to die were among the psycho-existential symptoms with clinically significant prevalence (scoring ≥4/10). For severe ratings (scoring ≥8/10), including anxiety 10.6%, sadness 10.2%, they want to die 7.6%, and confusion 3.6%, the precision of measurement within 3% was discovered.

The Psycho-existential Symptom Assessment Scale, a useful tool for better identifying signs of psycho-existential distress in palliative care patients, can be used by clinicians to assess patients. The previous service culture, comfort in discussing these topics, computerized data input, and the perception of time constraints were implementation hurdles.

Reference: jpsmjournal.com/article/S0885-3924(22)00855-7/fulltext