What is quality of life?

Author: Deborah Fitzsimmons

Quality of life (QoL) is an abstract concept with different philosophical, societal and health definitions.

Health-related QoL (HRQoL) focuses on aspects of an individual’s QoL within the context of illness and treatment. This can include areas such as physical, functional, social and emotional well-being.

HRQoL is a patient-reported outcome, usually measured with carefully designed and validated instruments such as paper-based questionnaires (instruments) or using touchscreen technologies.

These assessments are often incorporated into the evaluation of treatment efficacy in the context of clinical trials.

They can also be used in clinical practice to monitor the impact of disease and treatment, with increasing prominence in the evaluation of the quality of healthcare and in informing clinical and health services decision-making.

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