Exploring the Quality of Life at the End of Life (QUAL-E) Instrument with Australian Palliative Care Hospital Patients: Hurdles and directions
Institut Universitaire de Geriatrie de Montreal
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Nursing and Midwifery
The provision of care that enhances the quality of life at the end of life is a fundamental goal of palliative care services. This pilot study explored the application of the Quality of Life at the End of Life (QUAL-E) instrument in a sample of 52 patients who were hospitalized in two metropolitan Western Australian hospitals. Participants were given the option to complete the QUAL-E either as a self-report (n=9,17.3 percent) or, aided by a research assistant, as a structured interview (n=43, 82.7 percent). The instrument demonstrated patient acceptability and face validity, particularly when it was administered with the assistance of a research assistant. Despite having difficulty with some questions, patients expressed their appreciation at being given the opportunity to contribute to the research and to reflect upon and give voice to their thoughts and feelings. Health practitioners indicated that the instrument could be a valuable tool for holistic assessment and service evaluation. We suggest that minor changes be made to the QUAL-E before it is used further in an Australian context; we also recommend that this instrument be tested in other settings and populations.