Justifying terminal care by ‘retrospective quality-adjusted life-years’

Title: Justifying terminal care by ‘retrospective quality-adjusted life-years’

Source: Journal of Medical Ethics 2010(36), p290-292

Follow this link for the abstract

Date of Publication: May 2010

In a nutshell: QALYs are a crude tool used in terms of the number of quality-adjusted life-years a medical procedure will provide, however they cannot justify spending any money on terminal care (and indeed on older people in general). This paper suggests a different way of construing ‘quality’ (as meaningfulness rather than physical comfort) and ‘life’ (as both backward-looking and forward-looking), so that the terminal patient’s efforts to find meaning in his life could in principle generate plenty of ‘retrospective QALYs’ to justify funding.

Length of Publication: 2 pages

Some important notes: This article is available online using an NHS Athens password. To register for an NHS Athens password follow this link, alternatively contact your local health library for a copy of this article.

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