Changes in individual quality of life (IQoL) and its correlates in patients admitted to an academic palliative care unit are reported. Correlates tested were pain, fatigue, and reconceptualization (changes in content of quality of life, a measure of adaptation). IQoL was measured with a structured interview method that derives an IQoL score from evaluations of individually nominated life areas. Twenty-nine patients were included in the study and interviewed shortly after unit admission. Sixteen patients were interviewed before discharge (more than 1 week between interviews). The results show that mean IQoL scores improved notably. Pain and IQoL correlated negatively and moderately at admission, and correlations between fatigue and pain at discharge and IQoL were negative and strong. An increasing number of changes in life areas was moderately associated with worsening IQoL. Life area's most often nominated were relationships with family members and friends, symptoms and aspects related to maintaining control.