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Invited Commentary
Aug 13/27, 2012

Improving Patients' Quality of Life at the End of Life: Comment on “Factors Important to Patients' Quality of Life at the End of Life”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, Biomedical Research Center, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland.

Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(15):1142-1144. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3169

In this issue Zhang et al1 seek the best predictors of quality of life (QOL) for cancer patients in the last week of their lives. This investigation is one aspect of the Coping With Cancer study, a multisite, prospective, longitudinal study of patients with advanced cancer who were followed up for several months until death.

Patients and their caregivers provided various demographic, medical, and psychosocial data at enrollment in the study, and a caregiver rated QOL just before death retrospectively several weeks postmortem. This assessment consisted of ratings by the informant for the patient's last week of life in 3 areas—physical distress, psychological distress, and overall QOL—which were summed to create the primary outcome measure of QOL.

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