Measuring Subjective Side Effects and Symptoms in Palliative Photodynamic Therapy

Teresa T. Goodell

ONF 2007, 33(3), 647-650. DOI: 10.1188/06.ONF.647-650

Purpose/Objectives: To evaluate the reliability and validity of the Photodynamic Therapy Side Effects and Symptoms Scale (PSES) and to begin to describe patient-reported outcomes of photodynamic therapy (PDT).

Design: Repeated-measures instrument validation. The PSES uses a 10-point numeric scale to evaluate side effects or symptom trouble or burden on 13 items.

Setting: A Pacific Northwest community hospital.

Sample: 14 patients with end-stage lung or esophageal cancer undergoing palliative PDT.

Methods: Participants completed five PSES surveys (i.e., at baseline and once a week for four weeks after PDT). Weekly phone calls were made to assess functional status, operationalized as Karnofsky Performance Status.

Main Research Variables: Symptoms and functional status.

Findings: The PSES possessed acceptable internal consistency reliability and concurrent validity. Functional status declined in the first week after PDT, concurrent with an increase in side-effect and symptom burden. Photosensitivity became more burdensome over time but was never extremely burdensome.

Conclusions: The feasibility of measuring a diverse set of side effects and symptoms in end-stage cancer with a single-page, large-type instrument essentially was supported. The study provided preliminary information about side effects and symptoms in patients undergoing palliative PDT.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses often are called on to provide information to patients considering various treatment options. This study offers the first data on patient-reported outcomes of palliative PDT that clinicians can use to help in answering inquiries. The design of the PSES may be replicated by researchers working with other populations with end-stage disease to reduce respondent burden and decrease attrition.

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