Developing a Screening Tool for Serious Health-related Suffering for Low- and Middle-Income Countries - Phase-1: Domain Identification and Item Generation

Nandini Vallath, Naveen Salins, Arunangshu Ghoshal, Sunitha M. Daniel, Anuja Damani, M. R. Rajagopal, Rahul Raman Rewati, Sushma Bhatnagar, C. S. Pramesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief reported significant levels of health-related suffering globally, with the highest incidence in the low- and middle-income countries. The report describes suffering as health-related when it is associated with illness or injury of any kind and suffering as serious when it cannot be relieved without professional intervention and when it compromises physical, social, spiritual, and/or emotional functioning. This paper describes the preliminary development phase of a tool for screening Serious Health-related Suffering (SHS) at individual patient level, suitable to the healthcare settings in India. The study was conducted by the National Cancer Grid-India, with support from the Indian Association of Palliative Care. Materials and Methods: Domain identification and item generation were conducted according to the recommendations for tool development by the American Psychological Association and World Health Organisation quality of life instrument. The consensus for domain questions and associated items was achieved using Delphi, nominal group technique, expert review, and polling. Results: The Phase-1 study for developing the screening tool for SHS contextualised to resource-limited settings generated a bilevel questionnaire. The initial level assesses and scores the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and financial domains of health-related suffering. The next level assesses seriousness, through functional limitation and patient's preference. Conclusion: The generation of domains, items, and screening questions for health-related suffering and its seriousness completes the preliminary phase of developing the SHS screening tool applicable to a resource-limited healthcare setting. Field testing of the tool is being conducted as Phase-2 of this study, to validate it in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-63
Number of pages13
JournalIndian Journal of Palliative Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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