Patients Who Are Near Death Are Frequently Unable To Self-Report Dyspnea


Abstract:  Standard measures of dyspnea rely on the patient’s self-report. Declining consciousness and/or cognitive function and nearness to death may interfere with dyspnea reporting making the patient vulnerable to undertreatment or overtreatment.  Declining consciousness and/or cognitive state are expected when patients are near death. The ability to give even the simplest self-report (yes or no) about dyspnea is lost in the near-death phase of terminal illness, yet the ability to experience distress may persist and may be overlooked and undertreated or overtreated. Other methods for symptom assessment are needed in this context.


Journal of Palliative Medicine


October 2009, 12(10): 881-884.

Resource Type:

Journal Article


Margaret L. Campbell, Thomas Templin, Julia Walch.