Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe quality
of life (QOL) and psychosocial and spiritual issues among patients
receiving hospice care.
Methods: A questionnaire addressing QOL, spirituality,
optimism, loss, fears about the terminal process and death anxiety was
administered to 66 adults receiving care from 14 hospices. The physical
components of QOL (physical symptoms and physical well-being) were
rated lower than the psychosocial and spiritual aspects (support,
existential well-being, psychological symptoms).
Results: Respondents had a strong spiritual connection and a
strong sense of hope. Although these individuals did not express
anxiety or fear about death, there were concerns about the dying
process itself. Also, although most felt at ease with their current
situation, respondents were concerned about how their illness was
affecting their family. Financial and legal issues did not concern most
of these individuals.
Significance of results: There were few significant
associations between patient characteristics and the QOL or other
psychosocial or spiritual issues addressed. Among this older terminally
ill population receiving hospice care, whose functional status was fair
and for whom physical symptoms were troublesome, QOL persisted and a
positive outlook prevailed.