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Table 1 Definitions and examples of outcome measures, quality indicators and quality measurement instruments

From: Towards a standardized method of developing quality indicators for palliative care: protocol of the Quality indicators for Palliative Care (Q-PAC) study

  Outcome measure/ variable Quality indicator Quality measurement instrument
Definition An essential component of quality whereby the focus lies on patient’s or relatives outcomes, measured at an individual level. Well defined and measurable aspect of care, generally expressed in a number or percentage, addressing a specific aspect of care or a related outcome. Quality indicators are usually expressed on aggregated level. Instruments that can be used to monitor quality of care.
Characteristics Concerns outcomes of care Concerns structure, process or outcomes of care Concerns structure, process or outcomes of care
In palliative care, outcome measures provide a way to evaluate patient- and family-level status and response to treatment for symptoms and conditions in physical, psychological and other domains Clinically relevant, manageable and based on existing evidence, or if not applicable on consensus These instruments are used to measure outcome measures on individual level as well as quality indicators on aggregated level Individual and aggregated level
Contains standardized specifications detailing the eligible population, data collection procedures and types of analyses needed to calculate the indicator
Individual level Aggregated level
Example Pain intensity Percentage of patients with moderate to severe pain [10] Numerated rating scales (NRS)
  Quality of life Comfort Extent to which patients indicate that caregivers respect their life stance [10] McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire [44]
  Patient’s appraisal of the quality of care Relative’s appraisal of the quality of care Extent to which direct relatives felt supported by the caregivers immediately after the patient’s death [10] VOICES questionnaire [42, 43]