Four Stages of PSP (PSP Association, UK)

Last month, a terrific article was published on progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) in a nursing journal. The article shares a list of symptoms in the four stages of PSP from the PSP Association, based in the UK. The four stages are:

* early stage
* mid stage
* advanced stage
* end of life stage

The symptoms are copied below. I’m sure you can overlook the British spellings.

Robin

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Best Practice in PSP
PSP Association (UK)
2012

Early stage:
May present via the fracture clinic, falls services, eye specialist or speech and language therapist. The early stage typically spans years 0-1.

> Ambulant.
> Occasional falls.
> Unsteadiness and poor balance.
> Possible visual problems affecting ability to read.
> Voice changes, for example reduced volume.
> Mood changes.
> Reduced socialising.
> Changes in mood and behaviour, including apathy and anxiety.

Mid stage:
Many people reach this stage before diagnosis. Consider discussing advance care planning and advance decisions to refuse treatment. Consider referral to palliative care services. The mid stage typically spans years 2-3.

> Ambulant with aids.
> High risk of falls and injury.
> Visual problems affecting self-care abilities, for example eating and walking as unable to move eyes to see.
> Speech increasingly unintelligible.
> Inability to initiate conversation.
> Impulsivity (risky or impulsive behaviour).
> Apathy.
> Dysphagia.
> High level of supervision required.
> Increasingly socially withdrawn.

Advanced stage:
Patients should be on GP palliative care register and have access to specialist palliative care.
The advanced stage typically spans years 3-6.

> Mobility significantly compromised, probably chair bound requiring a wheelchair for mobility.
> Significant visual problems.
> Significant muscle stiffness.
> Significant communication problems, but probably still able to understand.
> High risk of aspiration and pneumonia as a result of dysphagia.
> Pain.
> Increasing periods of sleepiness.
> Incontinence.
> Severely withdrawn socially.
> Dependent for most or all aspects of care.

End of life stage:
This stage is difficult to detect, but may be indicated by reduced levels of consciousness, inability to eat or drink, acute infection, a fall or major fracture, and rapid and significant weight loss. The end of life stage typically spans 6-8 weeks.

> Severe impairments and disabilities.
> Rapid and marked deterioration in condition.
> Decisions with regard to treatment interventions may be required, considering an individual’s previously expressed wishes (advance decisions to refuse treatment).