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We have developed an instrument to record details of patients referred to hospice services. Twelve services across the UK, including inpatient units, support teams and home care teams, participated in a pilot study and were asked to record data on 20 consecutive patients. The 195 patients included in the study ranged in age from 7 to 94 years; 95% had cancer and 4% had AIDS. Two-thirds (68%) of the patients were at home on referral to the service. Symptom control (77%) and emotional support (60%) were the dominant problems recorded. In the month prior to referral, the patients had received treatments including analgesic and psychotropic drugs, steroids, radiotherapy and surgery. Current symptoms correlated with these previous treatments, although not closely. Emotional problems, especially anxiety, were noted in a majority of patients and their carers, and social issues, especially housing problems and isolation, in a minority. This pilot study suggests that a full survey of patients in hospice services in the UK is feasible. The results would be of use both locally and nationally. © 1990, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Palliative Medicine

Publication Date





93 - 104