Nausea and Vomiting
Agitation or Restlessness
Signs of Impending Death
|Common Symptoms and
Management in Advanced Disease
Fatigue is defined by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (1996) as “an overwhelming sustained sense of exhaustion with decreased capacity for physical or mental activity”. However, it is a very subjective condition with many causes and definitions making it difficult to measure. Fatigue affects nearly all patients with advanced disease, and interferes greatly with quality of life. It makes even the simple pleasures that are left to a patient at the end of life, such as reading or talking to friends, too much of an effort to undertake.
Causes of fatigue are as varied as the many definitions. Anemia, pain, cachexia, cancer or AIDS treatments, grief, depression, electrolyte imbalance, endocrine disorders, fear, dyspnea alone or in combination are just some of the risk factors for developing significant fatigue.
Treatment of fatigue, again, is tied to the cause. A holistic assessment that includes all areas of a patient’s life is necessary to understand and treat fatigue.
Treat the underlying cause of fatigue: