Background: Many hospital admissions aim to optimize quality of life (QoL). However, the standard medical clerking does not systematically record QoL items.
Aim: To examine whether the current disease-based clerking could be supplemented in older people with QoL information.
Design: Survey of non-elective admissions aged > or = 65 years.
Methods: Participants (n = 60) were interviewed on day 3-5 of their admission. QoL was measured using the SEIQoL-DW and the SF36 (version 2). Cognitive and physical function were also assessed. Aspects of feasibility and acceptability were explored, and the potential clinical benefits of the information investigated.
Results: Mean patient age was 81 years; 36 (60%) were female. Forty-five completed the SEIQoL-DW, (mean time 37.7 min), of whom 17 experienced practical difficulties drawing the cue levels, and 25 had difficulty manipulating the direct weighting device of the SEIQoL-DW. However, the assessment process was judged as acceptable, and elicited more subjective information than was recorded in medical and nursing notes. Doctors considered the individual QoL information potentially useful for planning discharge and follow-up.
Discussion: The SEIQoL-DW is probably too time-consuming for standard medical clerking. However, as it was judged acceptable by patients, and according to medical staff, gives potentially valuable information, there may be circumstances in which its use is worthwhile.