Journal of Neurology

, Volume 265, Issue 1, pp 98–107 | Cite as

A new measure for end of life planning, preparation, and preferences in Huntington disease: HDQLIFE end of life planning

  • Noelle E. Carlozzi
  • E. A. Hahn
  • S. A. Frank
  • J. S. Perlmutter
  • N. D. Downing
  • M. K. McCormack
  • S. Barton
  • M. A. Nance
  • S. G. Schilling
  • HDQLIFE Site Investigators and Coordinators
Original Communication



Huntington disease is a fatal inherited neurodegenerative disease. Because the end result of Huntington disease is death due to Huntington disease-related causes, there is a need for better understanding and caring for individuals at their end of life.


The purpose of this study was to develop a new measure to evaluate end of life planning.


We conducted qualitative focus groups, solicited expert input, and completed a literature review to develop a 16-item measure to evaluate important aspects of end of life planning for Huntington disease. Item response theory and differential item functioning analyses were utilized to examine the psychometric properties of items; exploratory factor analysis was used to establish meaningful subscales.


Participants included 508 individuals with pre-manifest or manifest Huntington disease.


Item response theory supported the retention of all 16 items on the huntington disease quality of life (“HDQLIFE”) end of life planning measure. Exploratory factor analysis supported a four-factor structure: legal planning, financial planning, preferences for hospice care, and preferences for conditions (locations, surroundings, etc.) at the time of death. Although a handful of items exhibited some evidence of differential item functioning, these items were retained due to their relevant clinical content. The final 16-item scale includes an overall total score and four subscale scores that reflect the different end of life planning constructs.


The 16-item HDQLIFE end of life planning measure demonstrates adequate psychometric properties; it may be a useful tool for clinicians to clarify patients’ preferences about end of life care.


Health-related quality of life HDQLIFE Huntington disease End of life Patient-reported outcome (PRO) HDQLIFE Site Investigators and Coordinators 



Work on this manuscript was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (R01NS077946) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (UL1TR000433). In addition, a portion of this study sample was collected in conjunction with the Predict-HD study. The Predict-HD data were supported by the NIH, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (R01NS040068), the NIH, Center for Inherited Disease Research (provided support for sample phenotyping), and the CHDI Foundation (award to the University of Iowa). We thank the University of Iowa, the Investigators and Coordinators of this study, the study participants, the National Research Roster for Huntington Disease Patients and Families, the Huntington Study Group, and the Huntington Disease Society of America. We acknowledge the assistance of Jeffrey D. Long, Hans J. Johnson, Jeremy H. Bockholt, Roland Zschiegner, and Jane S. Paulsen. We also acknowledge Roger Albin, Kelvin Chou, and Henry Paulsen for the assistance with participant recruitment. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

HDQLIFE Site Investigators and Coordinators: Noelle Carlozzi, Praveen Dayalu, Stephen Schilling, Amy Austin, Matthew Canter, Siera Goodnight, Jennifer Miner, Nicholas Migliore (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI); Jane Paulsen, Nancy Downing, Isabella DeSoriano, Courtney Shadrick, Amanda Miller (University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA); Kimberly Quaid, Melissa Wesson (Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN); Christopher Ross, Gregory Churchill, Mary Jane Ong (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD); Susan Perlman, Brian Clemente, Aaron Fisher, Gloria Obialisi, Michael Rosco (University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA); Michael McCormack, Humberto Marin, Allison Dicke (Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ); Joel S. Perlmutter, Stacey Barton, Shineeka Smith (Washington University, St. Louis, MO); Martha Nance, Pat Ede (Struthers Parkinson’s Center); Stephen Rao, Anwar Ahmed, Michael Lengen, Lyla Mourany, Christine Reece, (Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH); Michael Geschwind, Joseph Winer (University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA), David Cella, Richard Gershon, Elizabeth Hahn, Jin-Shei Lai (Northwestern University, Chicago, IL).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

Carlozzi, N. E. currently has research Grants from the NIH; she is also supported by Grant funding from the NIH and CHDI. She provides patient-reported outcome measurement selection and application consultation for Teva Pharmaceuticals. She declares no conflicts of interest. Hahn, E. A. currently has research Grants from the NIH; she is also supported by Grant funding from the NIH and PCORI, and by research contracts from Merck and EMMES; she declares no conflicts of interest. Frank, S. receives salary support from the Huntington Study Group for a study sponsored by Auspex Pharmaceuticals. There is no conflict of interest. Perlmutter, J. S. currently has funding from the NIH, HDSA, CHDI, and APDA. He has received honoraria from the University of Rochester, American Academy of Neurology, Movement Disorders Society, Toronto Western Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital in St Louis, Emory University, Penn State, Alberta innovates, Indiana Neurological Society, Parkinson Disease Foundation, Columbia University, St. Louis University, Harvard University and the University of Michigan; he declares no conflicts of interest. Downing, N. R. declares no conflicts of interest. McCormack, M. K. currently has Grants from the NJ Department of Health; he declares no conflicts of interest. Barton, S. K. is supported by grant funding from the Huntington Disease Society of America, CHDI Foundation and the NIH. She declares no conflicts of interest. Nance, M. A. declares no conflicts of interest. Schilling, S. G. has a research Grant from NSF. He also is supported by Grant funding from NIH. He declares no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noelle E. Carlozzi
    • 1
  • E. A. Hahn
    • 2
  • S. A. Frank
    • 3
  • J. S. Perlmutter
    • 4
    • 5
  • N. D. Downing
    • 6
  • M. K. McCormack
    • 7
    • 8
  • S. Barton
    • 4
  • M. A. Nance
    • 9
  • S. G. Schilling
    • 10
  • HDQLIFE Site Investigators and Coordinators
  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationUniversity of Michigan, North Campus Research ComplexAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medical Social SciencesNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of NeurologyWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  5. 5.Departments of Radiology and Neuroscience, Program in Occupational Therapy and Program in Physical TherapyWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  6. 6.Forensic Health Care College of NursingTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  7. 7.Department of PsychiatryRutgers University-Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolBrunswickUSA
  8. 8.Piscataway and Department of PathologyRowan University-SOMStratfordUSA
  9. 9.Hennepin County Medical CenterMinneapolisUSA
  10. 10.Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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