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This study aimed to investigate health-related quality of life of palliative care (PC) clients and their caregivers, at baseline and follow-up, following a referral to a community PC service.
Quality of life of clients and their caregivers was respectively measured using the McGill Quality of Life instrument (MQoL) and the Caregiver Quality of Life Cancer Index (CQoLC) instruments. Participants were recruited from June 8 to October 27, 2006. This study was undertaken in one zone of an Area Health Service in New South Wales, which has a diverse socioeconomic population. The zone covers an area of 6237 km2 and is divided into five sectors, each with a PC service, all of which participated in this study.
Data were obtained from 49 clients and 43 caregivers at baseline, and 22 clients and 12 caregivers at 8 week follow-up. Twenty-one participants died and six moved out of the area during the study. At baseline, clients reported a low mean score for physical symptoms (3.3 ± 1.9) and a high score for support (8.7 ± 1.0). Caregivers scored a total CQoLC of 63.9 ± 21.4 and clients had a total QOL of 6.1 ± 1.3. At follow up, matched data for 22 clients and 13 caregivers demonstrated no statistical differences in quality of life.
Significance of results:
This study has provided evidence that health-related quality of life questionnaires show lower scores for physical health and higher scores for support, which can directly inform specific interventions targeted at the physical and support domains.
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