A review of quality of care evaluation for the palliation of dyspnea

Richard A. Mularski, Margaret L. Campbell, Steven M. Asch, Bryce B. Reeve, Ethan Basch, Terri L. Maxwell, J. Russell Hoverman, Joanne Cuny, Steve B. Clauser, Claire Snyder, Hsien Seow, Albert W. Wu, Sydney Dy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Assessment and management of dyspnea has emerged as a priority topic for quality evaluation and improvement. Evaluating dyspnea quality of care requires valid, reliable, and responsivemeasures of the care provided to patients across settings and diseases. As part of an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Symposium, we reviewed quality of care measures for dyspnea by compiling quality measures identified in systematic searches and reviews. Systematic reviews identified only three existing quality measurement sets that included qualitymeasures for dyspnea care. The existing dyspnea qualitymeasures reported by retrospective evaluations of care assess only four aspects: dyspnea assessment within 48 hours of hospital admission, use of objective scales to rate dyspnea severity, identification ofmanagement plans, and evidence of dyspnea reduction. To begin to improve care, clinicians need to assess and regularly document patient's experiences ofdyspnea. There is no consensus onhowdyspnea should be characterized for qualitymeasurement, and although over 40 tools exist to assess dyspnea, no rating scale or instrument is ideal for palliative care. The panel recommended that dyspnea assessment should include a measure of intensity and some inquiry into the associated bother or distress experienced by the patient. A simple question into the presence or absence of dyspnea would be unlikely to help guide therapy, as complete relief of dyspnea in advanced disease would not beanticipated.Additionalknowledgegaps includestandards for clinical dyspnea care, assessment in the cognitively impaired, and evaluation of effectiveness of dyspnea care for patients with advanced disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-538
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2010


  • Assessment
  • Dyspnea
  • Quality indicators, health care
  • Quality of health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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