The Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) is a helpful measurement for monitoring the improvement or decline of the health of patients and loved ones who are suffering from chronic conditions or terminal diseases. This scale helps determine when an advanced level of care may be needed and when changes or modifications need to be made in care planning.

In this article, we’re going to look at what exactly the Palliative Performance Scale is, and how it helps families make tough decisions such as when it is a good time to pursue hospice care.

What Is the Palliative Performance Scale?

In 1996, the Victoria Hospice Society developed the PPS to measure the condition of patients receiving palliative care and estimate their survival time and care needs. Palliative care refers to specialized medical treatment for patients with chronic or terminal diseases. Measuring patients’ status allows healthcare professionals to categorize them and decide the best treatment route.

The PPS is an 11-point scale that contains five categories relating to a patient’s overall condition. These categories include:

  1. Ambulation – Assessment of patient mobility
  2. Activity and Extent of disease – Assessment of evidence of disease progression
  3. Self-Care – Assessment of self-care assistance needed
  4. Intake – Assessment of eating habits
  5. Conscious Level – Assessment of alertness and cognitive ability

Based on the assessments for each category, patients are given a PPS level, which is measured in increments of 10%; starting at 100% and ending at 0%. A PPS level of 100% would be considered fully healthy.

The Benefits of the Palliative Performance Scale

The PPS acts as an excellent communication tool that allows medical professionals (and other healthcare workers) to quickly describe a patient’s condition to each other. For example, a nurse could tell a physician that a patient has a PPS level of 50%, and he or she would know that the patient has reduced mobility, is unable to work, requires considerable assistance, and may be confused.

A patient’s PPS level helps hospitals, hospices, and families understand how much work will be required to provide adequate care. Someone with a score of 80% will need far less attention than someone below 40% who needs constant hands-on care. It’s also a helpful tool to determine life expectancy and determine how to provide the best quality of life.

Determining Hospice Care Eligibility

Knowing the right time to consider hospice for yourself or a loved one is difficult. For many people, the idea of doing so makes them feel guilty as if they’re somehow giving up. With the help of the Palliative Performance Scale, a person’s eligibility for hospice care can be easily identified. Typically, patients at 70% or lower are appropriate candidates. Once people reach these levels, their life expectancy is unlikely to be longer than six months. Families can then make the tough decision with more confidence and ensure their loved ones are as comfortable as possible for their remaining time.

Final Thoughts

For those who are managing care for family members with life-limiting disease, the Palliative Performance Scale is a helpful tool to use while making end-of-life decisions. When a patient is eligible for hospice care, beginning care early is always better than a late admission. 

If you have questions or are looking for a hospice provider, feel free to reach out to Cardinal Hospice for more information. You can also call our Bay City office at (989)401-8033 or our Oxford office at (248)572-6690.