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Scientific societies recommend early interaction between oncologic and supportive care, but there is still a lack of systematic evaluations regarding symptoms from the perspective of oncologists.
Patients and methods
The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the PERSONS score, in both “simultaneous care” and “supportive care” settings using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) as a comparator.
From November 2017 to April 2018, 67 and 110 consecutive patients were enrolled in outpatient and home care cohorts, respectively. The final study population comprised 163 patients. There were no significant changes over time in the total PERSONS scores and total ESAS scale. The intra-interviewer reliability (ICC2,1) and inter-interviewer reliability (ICC2,k) showed good reproducibility (test-retest) in each group of patients: 0.60 (0.49–0.70) and 0.82 (0.75–0.87), respectively, for the home care patients and 0.73 (0.62–0.81) and 0.89 (0.83–0.93), respectively, for the outpatient cohort. There were high correlations between PERSONS and ESAS, both at the baseline and final assessments. The mean PERSONS and ESAS scores between the home care patients and outpatients were not different at the baseline and final assessments. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve for the PERSONS total score revealed good diagnostic ability. Area under the curve (AUC) was 0.825 and 0.805 for improvement and deterioration, respectively.
The PERSONS score is an easy to apply tool for symptom assessment. Importantly, the PERSONS score showed high concordance with the established ESAS scale and, therefore, provides an alternative for everyday use in supportive care assessment.
Caregiver symptom assessment is not part of regular clinical cancer care. The ESAS (Edmonton Symptom Assessment System) is a multidimensional tool regularly used to measure symptom burden in patients but not caregivers. The objectives of the present study were to determine the feasibility of the ESAS in caregiver completion (defined as ≥ 9 of 12 items) and determine its concurrent validity with the Zarit Burden Interview–12 (ZBI–12).
We conducted a prospective study on 90 patient–primary caregiver dyads seen in an outpatient supportive care center in a cancer center. The 12 item ESAS–FS (financial–spiritual) was completed by the dyads along with other clinical and psychosocial measures.
The caregiver ESAS was found to be feasible (90/90 caregivers, 100% completed ≥ 9/12 items) and useful (66/90 caregivers, 73%) by caregivers to report their symptom burden. Some 68 of 90 (76%) caregivers had symptom distress scores ≥ 4 on at least one symptom. A significant association was found between the ESAS scores of caregivers and patients for fatigue (0.03), depression (<0.01), anxiety (<0.01), sleep (0.05), well-being (<0.01), financial distress (<0.01), spiritual pain (<0.01), and total ESAS score (<0.01). Concurrent validity with the ZBI–12 was not achieved (r = 0.53, p = 0.74). A significant correlation was found between caregiver ESAS scores and time spent feeding, housekeeping, total combined caregiver activities, and total ZBI–12 scores.
Significance of results:
The caregiver ESAS is a feasible tool and was found useful by our caregivers. Further research is needed to modify the ESAS based on caregivers' recommendations, and further psychometric studies need to be conducted.
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