Patients frequently have multiple symptoms at once, especially if they have advanced cancer or multiple co-morbidities. Patients have on average 10-13 symptoms–some from the disease and some caused by treatment. A 2015 study of symptoms common in the last year of life published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found there has been no improvement in the prevalence of common symptoms among end-of-life patients and many EOL symptoms remain unacceptably high. Some symptoms such as pain and depression have actually become more common.
- Discuss prevalence of symptoms common in patients at the end of life
- Describe etiology for end of life symptoms
- Recommend appropriate non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic management of common end of life symptoms