Ventafridda et al evaluated the quality of life in patients with cancer receiving palliative care. This can help monitor the patient's terminal course and identify areas for therapeutic interventions. The authors are from the National Cancer Institute in Milan, Italy.


(1) physical symptoms

(2) global judgment

(3) work and free time activities

(4) activities of daily living ("looking after oneself")

(5) psychological

(6) family and social relationships



• The original study used 5 issues, including the global judgment. I divided one (functional conditions) of the issues into 2, allowing separate evaluating of work/leisure and activities of daily living.


Physical symptoms:

(1) pain

(2) feeling weak

(3) loss of appetite

(4) dry mouth

(5) constipation

(6) diarrhea

(7) insomnia

(8) drowsiness

(9) difficulty breathing

(10) headache

(11) tremors

(12) difficulty swallowing

(13) nausea

(14) confusion

(15) itching

(16) coughing

(17) sweating

(18) vomiting

(19) dizziness

(20) hiccups


Global judgment:

(1) not feeling well


Work and activities:

(1) difficulties at work or performing housework

(2) difficulties in usual free-time activities


Activities of daily living:

(1) need help eating

(2) need help getting dressed

(3) need help using the toilet



(1) feeling sad or depressed

(2) feeling anxious or scared

(3) feeling nervous, restless or irritable

(4) feeling insecure

(5) difficulty in concentrating or paying attention

(6) difficulty in relaxing


Family and social relationships:

(1) arguing with family members

(2) feeling isolated




not at all




a lot


awful or a whole lot (maximum)




• The total number of responses with responses "a lot" or "awful" were tallied and compared.

• As disease progresses, certain symptoms tend to become more prominent.

• With effective palliative care, patients can experience an enhanced quality of life during the terminal phase of their illness.


NOTE: The authors described the responses but not the points assigned. One variation would be to increase the intervals for each response (0, 1, 2, 3 to 0, 1, 3, 6).

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