Professionals' views and experiences of using outcome measures in palliative care

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2003 Jun;9(6):234-8. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2003.9.6.11511.


In palliative care, outcome measures are increasingly used to aid clinical practice, conduct audit and research. The objective of this study was to elicit professionals' views and experiences of using outcome measures, paying special attention to the Palliative care Outcome Scale (POS). This article presents the results of a qualitative study of 26 professionals, experienced in using the POS, who were invited to participate in semi-structured telephone interviews. Of those invited, 22 people took part. Participants' comments were noted verbatim through the interviews and data subjected to content analysis. Analysis of data identified a number of key themes surrounding outcome measures, notably their reasons for use, application in clinical settings and a range of professionals' attitudes. The article concludes that understanding the process of outcome measures is important for improving their implementation. When undertaking further research, attention should be paid to the wider social, cultural and structural contexts, as factors that can influence the implementation of outcome measures. As the drive towards outcome measures continues, it is essential that measures are not developed in a vacuum. Instead they should always be informed by the needs and experiences of individuals and services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit
  • Motivation
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nursing Audit
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care* / methods
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care* / standards
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Palliative Care / standards*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors