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Topic 3: Principles of symptom assessment and management

To understand a person's symptoms and identify appropriate symptom management strategies, a comprehensive, multidimensional approach to assessment is needed.


Topic 3: Principles of symptom assessment and management will help you develop the knowledge and skills needed to identify the health needs of people with a life-limiting condition. You will also develop your understanding of the principles for managing common symptoms in palliative care.

Aims & Objectives

After completing this topic, you should be able to:

  • develop an understanding of the principles for assessing and managing symptoms associated with life-limiting conditions
  • discuss the importance of the multidisciplinary team in symptom assessment and management.


3.1 Principles of assessment

  • describe the importance of impeccable and holistic assessments in palliative care
  • understand the association of trajectories and symptom assessment.
  • Impeccable palliative care assessment
  • Anticipating likely symptoms
  • Comprehensive and multidimensional assessments
  • Case study – Herbert’s story

3.2 Assessing palliative symptoms

  • outline common palliative care symptoms
  • describe contributing factors which can influence the symptom experience of a person with a life-limiting condition
  • outline the importance of consistent assessment approaches including the use of validated palliative care assessment tools.
  • Common palliative symptoms
  • Ensuring consistent assessment approaches
  • Case study – Herbert six months later

3.3 Evidence-based symptom management

  • describe the key components of evidence based palliative symptom management
  • outline the process to develop the palliative care plan in collaboration with the multidisciplinary team, person with a life-limiting condition and their family.
  • Comprehensive symptom management in palliative care
  • Sources of evidence
  • Importance of evidence
  • Expert opinion – The importance of evidence in palliative care
  • Case study – Herbert’s illness progresses

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