Do hospital palliative care teams improve symptom control? Use of a modified STAS as an evaluation tool

Edmonds, P.M.; Stuttaford, J.M.; Penny, J.; Lynch, A.M.; Chamberlain, J.
September 1998
Palliative Medicine;1998, Vol. 12 Issue 5, p345
Academic Journal
The support team assessment schedule (STAS) has previously been validated as an evaluation tool for community palliative care teams and inpatient units. This study reports on use of an expanded STAS (E-STAS) to determine symptom prevalence and outcome for inpatients and outpatients referred to a multiprofessional hospital palliative care team. E-STAS forms were completed on patients at referral and twice weekly thereafter. Between August 1996 and May 1997, 352 patients had one or more E-STAS forms completed; 122 of this group had three or more assessments. One-hundred-and-eighty-two patients were male and 170 were female, the median age was 68.5 years (range 26101 years) and all but 27 (8%) had malignant disease. Of the symptoms assessed on referral, the most common were psychological distress 93%, anorexia 73%, pain 59%, mouth discomfort 59%, depression 40%, constipation 36%, breathlessness 32%, nausea 24% and vomiting 13%. In the 122 patients where three or more assessments were completed, statistically significant improvements from first to last assessment were seen in all symptoms except depression. This study suggests that E-STAS may be a useful tool to evaluate interventions by a hospital palliative care team in patients with advanced disease.


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