The PEACE project review of clinical instruments for hospice and palliative care
Background: Hospice and palliative care organizations are expanding their use of standardized instruments and other approaches to measure quality. We undertook a systematic review and evaluation of published patient-level instruments for potential application in hospice and palliative care clinical quality measurement.
Methods: We searched prior reviews and computerized reference databases from 1990 through February 2007 for studies of instruments relevant to physical, psychological, social, cultural, spiritual, or ethical aspects of palliative care, or measuring prognosis, function or continuity of care. Publications were selected for full review if they provided evidence of psychometric properties or practical application of an instrument tested in or appropriate for a hospice or palliative care population. Selected instruments were evaluated and scored for scientific soundness and potential application in clinical quality measurement.
Results: The search found 1427 publications, with 229 selected for full manuscript review. Manuscripts provided information on 129 instruments which were evaluated using a structured scoring guide for psychometric properties. Thirty-nine instruments scoring near or above the 75th percentile were recommended. Most instruments covered multiple domains or focused on care for physical symptoms, psychological or social aspects of care. Few instruments were available to measure cultural aspects of care, structure and process of care, and continuity of care.
Conclusion: Numerous patient-level instruments are available to measure physical, psychological and social aspects of palliative care with adequate evidence for scientific soundness and practical clinical use for quality improvement and research. Other aspects of palliative care may benefit from further instrument development research.