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Holistic Assessment of a Woman Admitted to a Hospice With Anxiety
  1. Rebecca Newman
  1. Rebecca Newman, Staff Nurse, Inpatient Unit, St Christopher’s Hospice, London. Email: r.newman{at}stchristophers.org.uk

Abstract

Many people with a terminal diagnosis experience anxiety and require emotional support. Anxiety is characterised by various symptoms, including apprehension, worry, difficulty in concentrating, irritability, panic, fear and restlessness. For some people, the anxiety becomes excessive and persistent and has a significant impact on their quality of life. In advanced disease, symptoms of anxiety can be difficult to differentiate from symptoms of physical disease. Therefore, anxiety states are often undiagnosed in palliative care patients. This article describes the case of a 72-year-old woman with ovarian cancer who was admitted to the author’s hospice following a period of worsening anxiety, breathlessness and pain. The aim of the article is to show how a holistic assessment can successfully address anxiety at the end of life. However, it is recommended that formal assessments of psychological wellbeing are also required for patients with significant psychological needs to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions and approaches used. For the purposes of confidentiality, all names have been changed and potentially identifying details omitted (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2008). Conflicts of interest: none

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