Applying an Individualised Quality of Life Intervention to Advanced Cancer Patients Admitted to a Unit for Palliative Care and Symptom Control


Michael Echteld , PhD
VU University Medical Centre
Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine
Department of Public and Occupational Health
Van der Boechorststraat 7
1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands


The proposed intervention study aims to achieve optimal quality of life in patients admitted to a hospital-based unit for palliative care and symptom control. Results of this intervention will be disseminated to other care facilities for terminally ill patients and to international networks.

The intervention entails collection of patients’ life areas / domains that affect quality of life the most by a specially trained nurse. A semi-structured interview instrument for individual quality of life will be used. Using the thus obtained information, the nurse will determine together with the attending physician and the head of staff which areas may benefit from an intervention. Multidisciplinary interventions will then be applied to all these areas.

A pilot study showed that patients may benefit from a quality of life intervention: Quality of life levels were lower than terminal patients in other care settings, and standard care in the unit did not identify all areas important to patients’ quality of life.

Patients who are expected to be admitted for at least 7 days and who have no cognitive deficits will be selected. Individual quality of life will be measured using the Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life (SEIQoL) at unit admission and at discharge / 14 days after admission. The effect of the interventions on individual quality of life will be assessed by comparing data from this study with data obtained in a pilot study.