Using the Patient care Outcome Scale (POS) in palliative care and oncology: international experiences from research, clinical practice and education

Irene Higginson1

1King’s College London, London, UK


Assessment of patient centred outcomes is increasingly recognised as vital by multiple agencies involved in cancer care and research. Outcomes centred on patients and their families concerns are extensively recognised the most valid way to understand people's needs, monitor change and determine the results of treatment and care.1

The Palliative (or Patient) care Outcome Scales (POS) are a family of patient centred outcomes to measure patients' physical symptoms, psychological, emotional and spiritual, and information and support needs. They are validated instrument that can be used in clinical treatment, care, audit, research and training, and are freely available for download -

The POS measures are specifically developed for use among people severely affected by diseases who may face multiple problems or complex symptoms. Thus, they are intentionally brief; the original POS had 10 questions and could be completed in around 5 minutes. The POS measures are widely used globally including in Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa and America, and are available in 11 languages, with more validation in other languages underway. 

The Integrated Patient care Outcome Scale (IPOS) integrates the best of several POS modules. A version specifically for use in myeloma, with more myeloma questions, has been developed.  This session will discuss some of the latest developments in the validation of these measures, their use for screening2 and aid assessment in clinical practice,3 in research trials,4 and next steps for development in the international literature. 5

1.            Osborne TR, et al What issues matter most .... Eur J Haematol. 2012.

2.            Antunes B, et al Screening for depression ..... J Pain Symptom Manage. 2015;49(2):277-288.

3.            Antunes B, et al Implementing patient-reported outcome .. Palliat Med. 2014;28(2):158-175.

4.            Bajwah S, et al Thorax. 2015.

5.            Bausewein C,  et al EAPC White Paper on outcome measurement : Palliat Med. 2015.