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J Palliat Med. 2018 Jan;21(S1):S76-S80. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2017.0447.

The Impact of Measuring Patient-Reported Outcome Measures on Quality of and Access to Palliative Care.

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School of Medicine, Queen's University , Kingston, Ontario, Canada .



Measuring performance for palliative care is complex as care is delivered in many sites, over time and jointly to the patient and family. Measures of structural processes do not necessarily capture aspects that are important to patients and families nor reflect holistic multidisciplinary outcomes of care. This article focuses on the question as to whether measurement of patient-reported outcome measures improves the outcomes of quality and access to palliative care.


To review the international evidence that measurement of indicators of desired outcomes improves the quality of and access to palliative care, in order to apply them to the Canadian context.


Rapid review.


Canadian context.


This review identified six systematic reviews and forty-seven studies that describe largely national efforts to arrive at a consensus as to what needs to be measured to assess quality of palliative care. Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are becoming more prevalent, with emerging evidence to suggest that their measurement improves outcomes that are important to patients. Several Canadian initiatives are in place, including the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer's efforts, in conjunction with other partners, to develop common quality measures. Results from Australia's Palliative Care Outcomes Collaborative demonstrate that patient-centered improvements in palliative care can be measured by using patient-reported outcomes derived at the point of care and delivered nationally.


Measurement of quality palliative and end-of-life care is very complex. It requires that both administrative data and PROMs be assessed to reflect outcomes that are important to patients and families. Australia's national initiative is a promising exemplar for continued work in this area.


indicators; palliative care; patient-reported outcome measures; quality assessment

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