This abstract was published in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care, V 21 (1), Jan/Feb 2004.
CURRENT USE OF GUIDELINES, PROTOCOLS OR CARE PATHWAYS FOR SYMPTOM MANAGEMENT IN HOSPICE. Daniel C. Johnson MD, Cordt T. Kassner PhD, Jean S. Kutner MD, MSPH
Evidence-based guidelines or care pathways for symptom management could provide a means to reduce symptom distress in dying patients. We surveyed Directors of Nursing from hospices affiliated with the Population-based Palliative Care Research Network (PoPCRN) regarding their hospices' current use of and attitudes toward written symptom management materials. A majority (53/78, 68%) of participating hospices reported use of written materials - guidelines, protocols or care pathways - for one or more symptoms. Materials were based on multiple sources and varied from simple medication orders to more comprehensive, multi-category symptom management resources. Regardless of the composition, these materials were perceived as helpful. Given this favorable view, variations in the use and content of written materials may signify an opportunity to decrease symptom distress in hospice through the implementation of evidence-based symptom management resources.