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Palliat Med. 2007 Jul;21(5):391-9.

A practical instrument to explore patients' needs in palliative care: the Problems and Needs in Palliative Care questionnaire short version.

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  • 1Centre for Quality of Care Research (WOK) University Medical Centre St Radboud, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. B.Osse@kwazo.umcn.nl



Short and convenient checklists are necessary tools to support and structure needs assessments in daily palliative practice. This study aims to develop a short version of the Problems and Needs in Palliative Care questionnaire (PNPC-sv); a self-report questionnaire for patients covering all dimensions of palliative care, to investigate their problems and (unmet) needs.


The original Problems and Needs in Palliative Care questionnaire (PNPC) instrument is a comprehensive checklist of problems and needs for palliative care, and has shown validity and reliability. With its 90 items, however, it is not always practical. Thus it was abridged to a short version with 33 items. The validity and reliability are established with its item response, its internal consistency, and with its correlations with the original PNPC and with European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Core 30 and COOP/WONCA quality-of-life measures. A secondary analysis was done with data from 94 patients with metastatic cancer who had completed the long version.


Each item in the PNPC represents a problem relevant to 25% of the patients or more. High correlations of PNPC-sv and PNPC domains demonstrate construct validity. The dimension reliability was satisfactory (Cronbach's alpha > 0.70), while two problem-aspect domains were less coherent. The PNPC-sv domains show convergent validity with corresponding health-related quality-of-life domains.


The PNPC-sv is a concise, patient-centred tool that helps to identify the problems affecting the patient's quality of life and needs for care. It identifies prevalent needs for care and appears reliable. Further research should study the clinical effects of integrating the questionnaire into daily palliative-care practice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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