Mick Fleming, Caroline J Hollins Martin, Colin R Martin
British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 20, Iss. 20, 08 Nov 2011, pp 1320 - 1324
Quality of life measures can be used by health professionals to assess effectiveness of nutritional interventions administered to palliative care patients. Stabilizing, maintaining and attempting to increase weight in palliative care patients through the support of oral feeding, and provision of artificial feeding, has been shown to mediate the metabolic and physical wasting effects of the disease process and improve general comfort. A quality of life instrument is a multi-dimensional questionnaire that health professionals can use to measure domains relating to physical, psychological and social aspects of living, and health and disease outcomes. There are three instruments specifically designed to assess quality of life in patients receiving palliative care. These are: The Palliative Care Quality of life Instrument, The Assessment of Quality of Life at the End of Life (AQEL), and The Spitzer Quality of Life Index (SQLI). General use quality of life measures are multifaceted; however, for use with palliative care patients, they have added dimensions of spirituality, existential issues (purpose and meaning of life), family members' perceptions of quality of care, symptom control and family support. Use of quality of life scales provides health professionals and organizations with an ideal measure for planning, targeting and evaluating health interventions.