The objective of this study was to evaluate suffering of end-of-life cancer patients during their final hospice stay and the possible interrelations with survival. A cohort of consecutive patients hospitalized in an inpatient cancer hospice of a tertiary hospital was used for this study. Patients were evaluated upon admission and once weekly by the
Mini-Suffering State Examination (MSSE). The distribution of patients for each MSSE score group, changes in MSSE scores (total and for each item of scale), and MSSE interrelation with clinical parameters associated with patients’ condition during hospitalization were studied. In addition, the interrelation of MSSE score and survival was examined.
Documentation of a high suffering level by the MSSE scale helps in identifying end-of-life cancer patients expected to benefit from enrollment in a hospice setting, provides quantitative information about various symptom dimensions, and may improve medical management and facilitate communication between these patients and caregivers.
Keywords: cancer; end of life; hospice; suffering; survival.