Breathlessness is one of the most common symptoms of advanced cancer, particularly lung cancer. Reported incidence varies between 30% - 70%(J. Carner).30% of all the patient experience it during some part of their illness and it goes as high 79% with lung cancer. (Mora Kearney).
Despite being prevalent it is most of the time not recognised by the health professional, when it is really serious. May be due to the fact that patient sometimes do not come early as they may think it is part of their illness.
Breathlessness can exist alone but most of the time it's a clusters of symptoms which includes anxiety, fear (Lenzetal 1997)
To be able to help patient with this problem it is necessary to know what exactly it means to be having breathlessness. As only if we know what is the mechanism behind it, then only proper care can be provided to the patient, Higginson and McCarthy 1989 reported that relief from this symptom remained poor as compared to other symptom such as pain etc.
Management of breathlessness is a vast area which consist of pharmacological and nonpharmocological approach, depending upon the need of the patient. Within this assignment I will aim to discuss the use of pharmacological as well as nonpharmocological intervention from the nursing point of view. With the help of evidence and various studies I will try to discuss the incidence and various factor involved in the mechanism of breathlessness. Alongside this I will try to examine how various drug may help in relieving the distressing symptom and how training of nurses, better communication with the patient may help. Lastly I will examine recommendation for future practice in my clinical area to improve the patient experience and to provide better management of breathlessness through the use of training and assessment tools to facilitate this process.
Roberts, Tharne @ Pearson(1993) have stated, nurses being more closed to the patient can