Development of a supportive care measure for economic evaluation of end-of-life care using qualitative methods

Eileen J Sutton, Joanna Coast

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    Background:An imperative to assess the economic impact of care at the end of life is emerging in response to national policy developments in a number of settings. Current focus on health benefits in economic evaluation may not appropriately capture benefits of interventions at the end of life. No instruments are available for measuring such benefits for economic evaluation of end-of-life care.Aim:To develop a descriptive system for a measure for use in economic evaluation of end-of-life care.Design:An initial phase of in-depth interviews was conducted to develop conceptual attributes for inclusion in a measure; a second phase of semi-structured repeat interviews with a subsample of informants was carried out to clarify and confirm the final set of attributes and to develop meaningful wording for a measure.Setting/participants:In total, 23 older people from three groups across the dying trajectory: older people (1) within the general population, (2) living in residential care and (3) receiving palliative care.Results:Interviews suggested that the important domains to include within this framework from the perspective of those approaching the end-of-life are choice/having a say in decision-making, love and affection/being with people who care, freedom from physical suffering, freedom from emotional suffering, dignity and self-respect, support, and preparation. A full descriptive system comprising seven questions, each representing one attribute, was developed.Conclusion:Economic evaluation should reflect the broader benefits of end-of-life care. Although the supportive care measure developed here requires validation and valuation, it provides a substantial step forward in appropriate economic evaluation of end-of-life care.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)151-157
    JournalPalliative Medicine
    Issue number2
    Early online date22 May 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


    • End-of-life care
    • cost-effectiveness
    • outcome measures
    • aged


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