hospice, McGill Quality of Life questionnaire, palliative care, quality of life



  1. Douglas, Audra RN, BSN


The differences in subjective quality of life between terminally ill patients receiving hospice care and patients receiving palliative cancer treatments were investigated to determine whether hospice services offer an improved quality of life for this population. A convenience sample of 66 alert and oriented, terminally ill adult men and women were recruited from three Midwestern hospice and palliative care agencies. Utilizing the McGill Quality of Life questionnaire ([alpha] = .89), subjective quality of life was assessed during face-to-face interviews conducted between December 2005 and March 2006. The results indicated few significant differences in subjective quality of life between the two groups, with the palliative care group scoring significantly higher on the comparative McGill Quality of Life questionnaire-Part A (t(64) = -2.12, P = .04) and the physical symptoms (t(64) = -3.68, P = .00) subscales. Both groups reported high scores on the support subscale (hospice M = 8.44; palliative M = 8.13), but no significant differences were found. The original hypothesis that the additional support offered to hospice patients would result in a higher subjective quality of life could not be supported by this study. To help patients achieve their greatest potential quality of life, healthcare workers must make themselves aware of the factors most likely to foster quality of life for individuals, whether that is the quiet comfort of hospice or the hope and optimism of continued treatment.