Relationships between symptom relief, quality of life, and satisfaction with hospice care

Tierney, R.M.; Horton, S.M.; Hannan, T.J.; Tierney, W.M.
September 1998
Palliative Medicine;1998, Vol. 12 Issue 5, p333
Academic Journal
Hospices were founded to alleviate suffering at the end of life. Quality improvement in hospices should, therefore, target patients' subjective assessments of their care and its outcomes. However, little is known about the relationships among subjective measures of care among hospice patients. The aim was to assess the relationships between hospice patients' physical and psychological symptoms, quality of life, and satisfaction with inpatient care. This was achieved with a prospective cohort study of 42 patients admitted to an Australian hospice's inpatient service during a two-month study period. The Edmonton symptom assessment system, McGill quality of life questionnaire, and a new measure of patient satisfaction with hospice inpatient care were used. It was shown that while there were marked variations in symptoms and quality of life scores, most patients were satisfied with their care. Satisfaction on the day after admission was lower among patients with worse quality of life scores (r=-0.40, P=0.008), but there was no correlation with symptoms (r=-0.12, P=0.43). Among the 26 patients (62%) with at least one subsequent inpatient interview, satisfaction was correlated with both worse quality of life (r=-0.51, P=0.01) and symptoms (r=-0.41, P=0.05). The symptom, quality of life, and satisfaction scales all had sufficient precision to identify patients with significant changes between the two interviews. It can be concluded that satisfaction with hospice care was associated with quality of life more than symptoms, although symptoms became important later during inpatient stays. Patients can assess their care and can provide valuable information for improving palliative care.


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