How do nurses assess quality of life of cancer patients in oncology wards and palliative settings?

Masoud Bahrami, Paul Arbon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: How Quality of Life (QoL) assessment is conducted across different oncology wards and palliative settings is a challenging issue and needs to be searched further. There is a lack of interpretive research study in Australian populations in which QoL assessment for cancer patients in oncology and palliative areas has deeply been explored. Therefore, an interpretive research study was conducted to explore in-depth nurses' QoL assessment conducted in oncology wards and palliative settings. Method: The study was completed in 2007 in two major public hospitals in Adelaide, South Australia. Ten nurses were selected from different inpatient and outpatient oncology services and a palliative setting to take part in semi-structured interviews. The study was a 'grounded theory approach' in which some aspects of the grounded theory were used to gain a fundamental understanding and broad description of the experience of QoL assessment as conducted by nurses. Results: After the data collection and analysis six main themes were identified. Four of the themes are presented as: a) Cues-based QoL assessment, and b) Purpose-based QoL assessment, c) Facilitators of QoL assessment, and d) Barriers of QoL assessment. Conclusions: Findings of the research study generally supported the notion that nurses mainly pick up on patients' cues as a way for QoL assessment when they communicate with patients in the clinical area rather than using QoL tools. Also, nurses are, at times, uncertain if they are doing a QoL assessment and if their assessment of patients' QoL is correct or not. Therefore, this supports a need for nurses to develop a more holistic relationship and stronger rapport with patients which underpins the assessment of cancer patients' QoL through various cues.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)212-219
    Number of pages8
    JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


    • Cancer
    • Nursing
    • Nursing assessment
    • Palliative care
    • Patients
    • Qualitative research
    • Quality of life


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