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Int J Palliat Nurs. 2008 Jan;14(1):24-9.

Is a STAS-based tool valid to triage patients at a specialist palliative care inpatient unit?

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Palliative Medicine, Borders General Hospital, Melrose, UK.


Many tools exist to assess the symptoms and needs of palliative care patients, but no tool has been validated to prioritise patients referred for specialist inpatient palliative care. The aim of this study was to produce and validate such a tool. A prospective pilot study produced a Support Team Assessment Schedule- (STAS-) based tool--the Admission Assessment Tool (AAT)--and compared this with the existing system of triage at the Marie Curie Hospice, Edinburgh. Validity of the tool was not confirmed and the tool was modified and re-evaluated. One hundred and twenty-seven consecutive patients referred to the hospice received three AAT scores: from the bed manager; the admitting doctor; and the admitting nurse. The hospice's multidisciplinary team assessed the urgency of each patient's admission. The overall correct classification rate was approximately two thirds, but false positive rates were high and there was poor inter-rate correlation. It is concluded the AAT has not been validated.

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