This study aimed to develop a valid and reliable method of measuring symptom distress in frail elderly people capable of providing self reports. We tested a tool used in palliative care settings with 46 elders in residential aged care, refined the tool, and tested the new version with 48 additional elders. Items assessed the prevalence and severity of distress attributed to nausea; pain; insomnia; fatigue; and breathing, bowel and appetite problems in the first phase, and pain; insomnia; fatigue; and breathing, bowel, and bladder problems in the second phase. Participants rated symptom distress on a 10-point scale over 5 days. Internal consistency reliability coefficients for the revised tool ranged from 0.50 to 0.64. Concurrent validity with an established measure of well-being was demonstrated. Further research will assess stability. The tool provides a valid overview of symptom distress in frail aged people able to provide self reports.
Nursing and Health Sciences,
Vol. 7, no. 3 (Sep 2005), pp. 184-191