Preferences of Older People with a Life-Limiting Illness: Evidence from a Discrete Choice Experiment

Journal of pain and symptom management

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2022 Apr 28:S0885-3924(22)00698-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2022.04.180. Online ahead of print.


CONTEXT: There is limited evidence about which elements and characteristics of palliative care service provision improve the experiences of older people living with life-limiting illness.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate older patients' (≥65 years) preferences for elements of services and supports and to explore relationships between patient characteristics and the patterns of preferences.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey undertaken in Ireland and England using a Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) with people accessing specialist palliative care services. A random-effects probit model was used to estimate patient preferences.

RESULTS: 77 patients were interviewed, 51 participated in the DCE component of the interview (response rate= 66%). Participants prioritised support that minimized unpaid caregiver burden (P<0.001). They also preferred ease of access to services including out-of-hours access (P<0.001) and free care at home (P<0.001). Quality of life was prioritised over quantity of life (<0.001).

CONCLUSION: People living with a life-limiting illness value care that focuses on quality of life, ensures barrier-free access to services and provides sufficient support for relatives. In the context of limited resources and growing demand for care, this study provides evidence about the service elements palliative care delivery models should prioritise and evaluate.

PMID:35490993 | DOI:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2022.04.180


Bridget M Johnston
Barbara Daveson
Charles Normand
Karen Ryan
Melinda Smith
Regina McQuillan
Irene Higginson
Lucy Selman
Katy Tobin