The five authors have no conflicts of interest, including specific financial interests and relationships and affiliation relevant to the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript.
GC, MC and MB contributed to conception and design of the study. All the authors of the study discussed the theoretical model and results presented in this article. This paper was primarily written by GC, MC and MB and then revised, discussed, and amended by all the authors that approved the final version of the manuscript.
Palliative Care (PC) is an approach that improves the Quality of Life (QoL). A number of QoL assessment tools have been developed and validated in PC. It is not clear how QoL should be measured in PC practice. A procedure of QoL assessment in clinical practice can be defined as a clinical intervention focused on QoL assessment. This is a typical complex intervention that should be appropriately developed and described in all its components and assessed for its effectiveness. The aim of this study is to define a framework to help researchers to develop and evaluate clinical interventions focused on QoL assessment in PC.
A study group of experts in PC and in research methodology was set up to define a framework that would describe the principles of clinical interventions focused on QoL assessment in PC. The study group discussed the WHO Population Screening Principles as a possible useful framework. The new principles had to be developed taking into account the following criteria: 1) specific to PC practice; 2) address a single underlying characteristic; 3) anchored to relevant literature; 4) consistent with the WHO PC definition.
With regard to contents and the format of the principles, discussions occurred among the study group members through a cognitive process.
We reviewed each of the WHO Population Screening Principles and adapted them to QoL assessment, taking into account the defined criteria. As a result, a new framework, the QoL Assessment Principles in Palliative Care was developed. It consisted of 4 sections, for a total of 11 principles.
The WHO Screening Principles framework was used to outline the eleven essential principles to be considered in developing and/or evaluating clinical interventions focused on QoL assessment in PC. The QoL Assessment Principles in Palliative Care identified could represent a methodological and ethical standard to be considered when developing and evaluating a clinical intervention focused on QoL assessment in PC.