COSMIN database

Outcome measures in palliative care for advanced cancer patients: a review

Hearn, J. and Higginson, I. J.
Information generated using outcome measures to measure the effectiveness of palliative care interventions is potentially invaluable. Depending on the measurement tool employed the results can be used to monitor clinical care, carry out comparative research, provide audit data or inform purchasing decisions. However, the data collected can only ever be as good as the method used to obtain them. This review aimed to systematically identify and examine outcome measures that have been used, or proposed for use in the clinical audit of palliative care of patients with advanced cancer. Database searches were performed using MEDLINE (1991-1995), CANCERLIT (1991-1995), Healthplan (1985-1995), and 'Oncolink' on the internet. Further measures were located with the assistance of other professionals working in palliative care. The criteria for the inclusion and assessment of measures were a measure assessing more than one domain and a target population of advanced disease or palliative care Forty-one measures were identified, 12 of which satisfied the inclusion criteria. These contained between five and 56 items and covered aspects of physical, psychological and spiritual domains. Each measure meets some but not all of the objectives of measurement in palliative care, and fulfils some but not all of our criteria for validity, reliability, responsiveness and appropriateness.
J Public Health Med
0957-4832 (Print)
Publication year:
Symptom status:
Cognitive/mental state
Emotional state
Physical state
Functional status:
Physical functioning
Role functioning
Social functioning
General health perceptions / HRQoL:
Health-related quality of life
Adults (18-65)
Children (0-18)
Seniors (65+)
Neoplasms and related symptoms
PRO / non-PRO:
Non-patient Reported Outcome
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
2 - Interviews
6 - Clinical rating scales
EORTC QLQ-C30 - European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaires Core-30 item (ALSO shortened version)   
ESAS - Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (versions: ESAS-PD - ESAS-Parkinson's Disease)
HRCA-QL - Hebrew Rehabilitation Centre for Aged Quality of Life
IAS - Initial Assessment of Suffering
MQLS - McMaster Quality of Life Scale
MQOL - McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire [alias: McGill QoL] (also: MQOL-CSF - MQOL-Cardiff Short form)
PACA - Palliative Care Assessment
PCCS - Palliative Care Core Standards
RSCL - Rotterdam Symptom Checklist   
SDS - Symptom Distress Scale
SEIQoL - Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life
Support Team Assessment Schedule (STAS)