Adaptation, acceptance and adaptive preferences in health and capability well-being measurement amongst those approaching end of life: Adaptive preferences at end of life

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Rosanna Orlando
  • K. Armour
  • R. Perry
  • L. Jones

Colleges, School and Institutes


Objectives: Adaptive preferences occur when people subconsciously alter their views to account for the possibilities available to them. Adaptive preferences may be problematic where these views are used in resource allocation decisions because they may lead to underestimation of the true benefits of providing services. This research explored the nature and extent of both adaptation (changing to better suit the context) and adaptive preferences (altering preferences in response to restricted options) in individuals approaching the end of life.

Methods: Qualitative data from ‘thinkaloud’ interviews with 33 hospice patients, 22 close persons and 17 health professionals were used alongside their responses to three health/wellbeing measures for use in resource allocation decisions: EQ-5D-5L (health status); ICECAP-A (adult capability); and ICECAP-SCM (end of life capability). Constant comparative analysis combined a focus on both verbalised perceptions across the three groups and responses to the measures.

Results: Data collection took place between October 2012 and February 2014. Informants spoke clearly about how patients had adapted their lives in response to symptoms associated with their terminal condition. It was often seen as a positive choice to accept their state and adapt in this way but at the same time, most patients were fully aware of the health and capability losses that they had faced. Self-assessments of health and capability generally appeared to reflect the pre-adaptation state although there were exceptions.

Conclusion: Despite adapting to their conditions, the reference group for individuals approaching end of life largely remained a healthy, capable population, and most did not show evidence of adaptive preferences.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Early online date9 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 May 2018


  • UK, ICECAP-SCM, ICECAP-A, EQ-5D-5L, adaptive preferences; end of life, adaptation