Preferences of older people living with life-limiting illness

1st June 2022

There is limited evidence about how palliative care services improve the lives of older people. The Buildcare team have recently published research into older people’s preferences for services and support and have explored the relationship between these patients’ characteristics and their preferences.

The researchers carried out a cross-sectional survey of people accessing specialist palliative care services in Ireland and England using a Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE).

The results showed that older people value support that minimises the burden on their unpaid caregivers (friends and family). They also preferred ease of access, including being able to access services out-of-hours. They preferred free care at home in preference to other care environments, and quality of life was more important over quantity of life.

The study concludes that older people living with a life-limiting illness want their care to focus on quality of life, easy access to services, and 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.

Johnston BM, Daveson B, Normand C, Ryan K, Smith M, McQuillan R, Higginson I, Selman L, Tobin K BuildCARE. Preferences of Older People with a Life-Limiting Illness: Evidence from a Discrete Choice Experiment. ; J Pain Symptom Manage. 2022 Apr 28:S0885-3924(22)00698-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2022.04.180. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35490993.

More about BuildCARE

BuildCARE (Building Capacity, Access, Rights and Empowerment) is a programme of research based at the Cicely Saunders Institute and funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies and Cicely Saunders International. BuildCARE aims to create a ‘sea change’ in the way palliative and end-of-life care is regarded, implemented and prioritised internationally. The programme is led by Professor Irene Higginson.

The project is comprised of four programmes:

  • International Access, Rights and Empowerment (IARE)
  • Dissemination, Engagement and Empowerment (DEE)
  • Cicely Saunders International PhD Training Fellowship Programme
  • Cicely Saunders International Faculty Scholars