Suffering is health-related
when it is associated with illness or injury of any kind.
Suffering is serious
when it cannot be relieved without professional intervention and when it compromises physical, social, spiritual, and/or emotional functioning.
20 health conditions that most commonly result either in death or in suffering that is severe enough to require a palliative care intervention for people of any age
atherosclerosis; cerebrovascular disease; chronic ischemic heart diseases; congenital malformations; degeneration of the CNS; dementia; diseases of the liver; hemorrhagic fevers; HIV disease; inflammatory disease of the CNS; injury, poisoning, and external causes; leukemia; lung diseases; malignant neoplasms (cancers); musculoskeletal disorders; non-ischemic heart diseases; premature birth and birth trauma; protein energy malnutrition; renal failure; and tuberculosis.
Most common and severe symptoms or types of suffering generated by these health conditions:
- Physical suffering (moderate or severe pain, mild pain, weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, dry mouth, itching, wounds and bleeding)
- Psychological suffering (anxiety and worry, depressed mood, delirium or confusion, and dementia referring to disorientation, agitation, or memory loss).
Indicators of the duration of SHS
: total number of days with any type of suffering; it is estimated by summing the duration in days of each symptom.
: number of days with the symptom of longest duration.
See reference for more information.
Adapted from Knaul FM et al. Alleviating the access abyss in palliative care and pain relief—an imperative of universal health coverage: the Lancet Commission report. Internet. Accessed on January 27, 2017.