Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2019 Jun;22(2):67-76. 10.14475/kjhpc.2019.22.2.67.

Initial Assessment and Care Planning in Palliative Hospice Care: Focus on Assessment Tools

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Ulsan University Hospital, Ulsan, Korea. sujinkoh@uuh.ulsan.kr


For hospice palliative care that provides comprehensive and general care, it is necessary to use assessment tools to objectively list issues and detail care plans. The initial assessment is a process of establishing an overall direction of care by identifying the patient's symptoms, social and spiritual issues and palliative care needs on the admission day or within one day of admission. This process is also used to identify the patients' and families' awareness of the illness, prognosis, treatment options and if the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) has been drafted. Consisting of 13 simple questions regarding the physical, mental, social, and spiritual domains, the Needs at the End-of-Life Screening Tool (NEST) is recommended as an initial assessment tool. Using specific assessment tools, a care plan is established for the issues identified in the initial assessment within three days of admission. A multidisciplinary assessment tool can be helpful in the physical domain. The psychosocial domain evaluates psychological distress, anxiety and depression. The social domain examines an ability to make decisions, understanding of the socioeconomic circumstance, family relationship, and death preparedness. A spiritual evaluation is also important, for which the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual WellBeing Scale (FACIT-Sp) or the Spiritual Health Inventory (SHI) can be used. The use of an assessment tool could not only contribute to pain mitigation a better quality of life for patients, but also provide systematic training for a multidisciplinary team; And the process itself could be a stepping stone for the better care provision.


Hospice care; Palliative care; Quality of life; Pain measurement

MeSH Terms

Chronic Disease
Family Relations
Hospice Care*
Mass Screening
Pain Measurement
Palliative Care
Quality of Life
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