Nurses often spend a lot of time caring for people with palliative care needs. Detecting changes in their condition can be more difficult when you regularly visit with a person. Systematic assessment helps to monitor for changes so that care measures can be implemented to prevent and relieve suffering as the end of life is approached.
Standardised approaches to clinical assessments provide a common language that can enhance communication with other health professionals and the people in your care.
Nurses can use certain assessment tools to assess:
Some assessment tools cover a broad range of potential needs , for example:
Other tools are more specific in their focus and support more in-depth assessments, for example, PAINAD (43kb pdf) or The Modified Borg Scale (mBORG) (181kb pdf).
Clinical assessment tools should be used appropriately and with caution, and not as a substitute for a comprehensive assessment.
Communication that is open, respectful, culturally safe, and comfortable enables effective conversations. This forms a key part of providing comprehensive care.
Nurses use communication skills to:
For more information, see Communication.
The PEPSI COLA aide memoire for holistic patient assessment.
(This tool was developed in the UK therefore certain resources within it are specific to the UK.)
PEPSI COLA aide memoire (128kb pdf)
Download PEPSI COLA
Clinical assessment needs to be comprehensive, systematic, and ongoing; however, barriers to this often exist, such as lack of time, training and understanding of assessment.
It is worth remembering that people may downplay or not report symptoms because
This information was drawn from the following resources:
Do the PCC4U module Assessing and Managing Symptoms
Watch End of life care: What matters to the person who's dying
Access more Assessment Resources
Page created 26 September 2022