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Table 4 Psychological and physical symptoms in the last week of life of Belgian patients dying at home* non-suddenly: MSAS-GDI (N = 205)

From: Dying at home in Belgium: a descriptive GP interview study

  N (%) Rarely Occasionally Frequently Almost constantly N (%) §|| N (%) §¶
Psychological symptoms Presence How frequently did the patient experience the symptom? N (%)?‡ Physical or psychological symptom most difficult to manage Most distressing physical or psychological symptom
Feeling sad 104 (51) 6 (6) 26 (25) 36 (35) 35 (34) 14 (9) 10 (6)
Worrying 95 (46) 4 (4) 25 (26) 35 (37) 30 (32) 5 (3) 8 (5)
Feeling irritable 62 (30) 7 (11) 25 (40) 20 (32) 9 (15) 4 (3) 2 (1)
Feeling nervous 88 (43) 8 (9) 38 (43) 28 (32) 14 (16) 5 (3) 4 (2)
Physical symptoms Presence How much did the symptom distress/bother the patient? N (%)?‡   
  N (%) Not at all/A little Somewhat Quite a bit Very much   
Lack of appetite 177 (86) 75 (42) 26 (15) 43 (24) 31 (18) 19 (12) 8 (5)
Lack of energy 187 (91) 36 (19) 30 (16) 50 (27) 67 (36) 30 (19) 47 (27)
Pain 114 (56) 37 (32) 38 (33) 24 (21) 13 (11) 18 (12) 28 (16)
Feeling drowsy 147 (72) 66 (45) 36 (24) 33 (22) 7 (5) 6 (4) 4 (2)
Constipation 78 (38) 34 (44) 28 (36) 11 (14) 4 (5) 6 (4) 6 (3)
Dry mouth 97 (47) 31 (32) 29 (30) 28 (29) 7 (7) 6 (4) 10 (6)
Shortness of breath 111 (54) 25 (23) 25 (23) 25 (23) 35 (31) 42 (27) 46 (27)
Mean N° of symptoms per patient (SD) 6.15 ± 2.49
Global Distress Index (Mean, SD)** 1.57 ± 0.68
  1. * Patients dying at their own home or at the home of a relative; all percentages are column percentages except these about frequency of experience and distress of the symptoms which are row percentages (% of those patients whose GP answered yes to a symptom)
  2. † missing values: for Feeling sad n = 24, for Worrying n = 24, for Feeling irritable n = 17, for Feeling nervous n = 16, for Lack of appetite n = 14, for Lack of energy n = 13, for Pain n = 12, for Feeling drowsy n = 14, for Constipation n = 34, for Dry mouth n = 28, for Shortness of breath, n = 11
  3. ‡ missing values: for Feeling sad n = 1, for Worrying n = 1, for Feeling irritable n = 1, for Lack of appetite n = 2, for Lack of energy n = 4, for Pain n = 2, for Feeling drowsy n = 5, for Constipation n = 1, for Dry mouth n = 2, for Shortness of breath n = 1
  4. § missing values: for Symptom most difficult to manage n = 32, for Most bothersome symptom n = 13
  5. || category 'other' n = 14, category 'none' n = 4
  6. ¶ category 'other' n = 14, category 'none' n = 5
  7. ** 18 cases excluded from analyses: for 18 cases the GP could not score > 3 symptoms