Oncology has definite end points: life span, remission rates, rates of tumor growth and regression. For patients at the end of life, quality of life remains an important concern. Before providers recommend additional cancer therapies, their human costs and potential benefit should be considered, especially when a patient is near the end of life. Quality of life as an outcome should be important as providers and families evaluate treatment options.
Teams can regularly evaluate quality of life during and after treatments for cancer rather than relying only on superficial patient satisfaction measures. As many Breakthrough Series teams learned, other measures, such as pain relief or perception of suffering, are also useful ways to gauge the quality of care.
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This online version of the book Improving Care for the End of Life: A Sourcebook for Health Care Managers and Clinicians is provided with permission of Americans for Better Care of the Dying [ www.abcd-caring.org ] and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
For further information on quality improvement in end-of-life care visit The Palliative Care Policy Center [ www.medicaring.org ].