What do you think of when you consider “quality of life”? Do end-of-life issues come to mind? How about disability or an inability to enjoy life? Or, what about something as simple as holding your grandchild? This is the first post in a series of Quality of Life topics.
When I think of quality of life, I picture having the ability to do the things I wish to do. Maybe that’s enjoying a day going to the movies without getting fatigued, or being able to remain gainfully employed, or even just being able to contribute to the family’s needs. To do so, I choose to foster personal strengths, develop coping strategies, gain information and knowledge, while cultivating a positive outlook and the ability to choose joy. These things are not always easy, multiple sclerosis or not.
Consider Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) which is important to patients and should be one of the primary objectives in the management of all chronic diseases, including MS. Regardless of the disease, the patient can cope and live a more productive life if HRQoL is maintained. For an excellent primer on HRQoL, see Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life in the Annals of Internal Medicine (15 April 1993, 118/8: 622-629).
HRQoL is a multidimensional concept that includes an individual’s perception of their general well-being and the level of role-fulfillment across a range of different physical, psychosocial, and symptom-related phenomenon. Four aspects to quality of life include clinical health, role-performance, adaptability, and well-being. The major factors contributing to quality of life for the patient are ability to perform daily activities, level of well-being, satisfaction with life, and the impact of disease-related symptoms.
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Quality of Life for MS Patients: Is it Health-Related?