The PERS2ON score for systemic assessment of symptomatology in palliative care: a pilot study

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The comprehensive assessment of symptoms is the basis for effective, individualised palliative treatment. Established scoring systems provide in-depth information but are often lengthy and hence unsuitable. We introduce the PERS2ON score as a short and practically feasible score to evaluate symptom burden. Fifty patients admitted to a Palliative Care Unit rated seven items, i.e. pain, eating (loss of appetite/weight loss), rehabilitation (physical impairment), social situation (possibility for home care), suffering (anxiety/burden of disease/depression), O2 (dyspnoea) and nausea/emesis, on a scale ranging from 0 (absence) to 10 (worst imaginable), resulting in a score ranging from 0 to 70. Assessments were performed at admission, 7 days after admission and at the day of discharge. Symptom intensity scores were calculated, and change over time was evaluated. A significant improvement was observed from the PERS2ON score between admission and 7 days (P < 0.001; paired t-test). Significant improvement from baseline evaluation to evaluation on the day of discharge was observed (P = 0.001; paired t-test). This study provides initial evidence that the PERS2ON score is both feasible and sensitive to changes of the most prominent symptoms in palliative care. It may be useful in clinical practice to direct palliative treatment strategies and provide targeted symptom management.

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