Quality of life in palliative care: being at ease in the here and now

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2008 Feb;14(2):90-7.

Abstract

Quality of Life (QoL) is an important issue for users of hospice services and may be assessed in a quantitative way. This study set out to evaluate the effectiveness of the Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life--Direct Weighting (SEIQoL-DW). A sequential mixed methods design was used to examine both quantitative and qualitative factors relating to quality of life. Five participants were recruited from an inpatient specialist palliative care (hospice) unit in East Anglia. Each participant completed the SEIQoL-DW followed by unstructured interviews, which were analysed using Giorgi's (1985) psychological phenomenological method. It was found that SEIQoL-DW provided an opening or 'window' onto participants' QoL as they travelled from their past to their future. Themes emerging from the unstructured interviews suggest that QoL was about 'being at ease' in the 'here and now' and was influenced by past experiences and future expectations. Existential and spiritual issues, which were not all captured by the SEIQoL-DW, were of more importance than physical symptoms. This needs to be taken into account when caring for those nearing the end of their lives and particularly when using medications that have an adverse effect on mental acuity.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Palliative Care*
  • Quality of Life*
  • United Kingdom