Blog spotlight: Questions of quality in end-of-life care
Patient Safety Monitor Insider
July 17, 2012
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine this month examined the most influential factors for quality of life at the end of life for terminal patients. Researchers followed nearly 400 cancer patients over the course of six years and determined nine factors that caused the most variance in quality of life. The study concluded that patients who avoided hospitalizations and the intensive care unit had the highest quality of life at end of life, as did those who were less worried, who prayed or meditated, who were visited by a pastor in the hospital, and who felt a therapeutic alliance with their physicians. The study is among the first to collect data specific to quality of life at the end of life, according to researchers.
Scientific American expanded upon the findings last week, noting that many healthcare organizations lack teams devoted to palliative care and that physicians are often reluctant to discuss end-of-life decisions with patients. The article concludes that end-of-life care is shifting toward a focus on patients’ needs, both socially and psychologically, rather than emphasizing curative care.