The prediction of life-expectancy in terminally ill patients is important both for medical and social reasons but is widely recognized as being inaccurate. In this study we prospectively collected data items which we proposed might influence survival on 148 consecutive patients at first admission to one of two hospices. Of the 19 parameters collected, four were associated with a significantly shortened survival. These were low performance status (PS), requirement for admission at first referral to the palliative care service, elevated serum bilirubin, and hypotension. Factors previously identified as predictive of shortened survival such as hyponatraemia, weight loss, confusion and tumour type were not confirmed as statistically significant independent variables. We plan to collect these data items on future patients in order to test the validity of these results.
- life expectancy
- terminal care