Title. Factors associated with lower quality of life among patients receiving palliative care.
Aim. This paper is a report of a study conducted to (1) assess the quality of life (QoL) and physical functioning status of patients diagnosed with advanced cancer and receiving palliative care; (2) determine if there was a statistically significant relationship between their physical functioning and QoL and (3) identify the demographic and disease-related variables related to their QoL.
Background. Achieving the best possible QoL is a major goal in palliative care. However, research findings about the relationship between QoL and demographic variables have been inconsistent.
Method. Three hundred patients with advanced cancer were recruited from four district hospitals in Hong Kong between February 2005 and July 2006. Their QoL and physical functioning status were assessed by face-to-face interview, using the McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire (Hong Kong version) and the Palliative Performance Scale respectively.
Results. Participants reported reduced ambulation, inability to perform hobbies or housework, and the need for occasional assistance in self-care (mean: 64·6 out of 100, sd: 19·3, range: 20–100). QoL was fair (mean: 6·2 out of 10, sd: 1·5, range: 0·9–10). There was a weak positive association between physical functioning and QoL scores. Multiple regression analysis showed that patients who were older, female, had ever been married, or had higher physical functioning tended to have better QoL.
Conclusion. More could be done in symptom and psychosocial management to improve patients’ QoL, in particular for those who are younger, male or single, or who have lower physical functioning.