Quality of Life

Recently one of my clients told me their health was good. I’d just done a 45 minute health assessment with them.

They couldn’t walk to the shops (600m from home) – so short of breath because of heart failure; they had some kidney damage caused by diabetes and high blood pressure; they had fallen 3 times in the past 12 months, due to peripheral neuropathy.

So, what makes a person like this, one we might think has health far from ‘good’, consider themselves to be in good health?

Its Safe

This self assessment intrigued me. I asked if we explore this ‘good health’.

The positives in their life included a loving partner 10 years younger able to do many things as a carer for my client; 3 small grandchildren that stayed in the house twice a week providing a happy family environment for storytelling and games of cards; a trip to the local club once a week for a meet up with long term friends of over 30 years.

Sometimes we – health professionals – are blinded by our role: assess health as we see it. The problems that need to be treated rather than assessing a person as a whole bio-psycho-socio-sprirtual being. Sometimes we focus so much on the negatives, we forget to ask ‘whats good in your life?’ or ‘how do YOU rate your health at present?’.

Finding the positives (but not ignoring the negatives),  seeing the whole person, is something to do with quality of life.


Definitions for Quality of life**

Table 1 shows the dimensions of the quality of life, as defined in the SF-36 survey/tool.

Table 1: Dimensions of quality of life in the SF-36
Dimension Definition of lowest score (poor quality of life) Definition of highest score (good quality of life)
Physical functioning Very limited in performing all physical activities, including bathing or dressing Performs all types of physical activities including the most vigorous, without limitations due to health
Role physical Problems with work or other daily activities as a result of physical health No problems with work or other daily activities
Bodily pain Very severe and extremely limiting pain No pain or limitations because of pain
General health Evaluates personal health as poor and believes it is likely to get worse Evaluates personal health as excellent
Vitality Feels tired and worn out all of the time Feels full of pep and energy all of the time
Social functioning Extreme and frequent interference with normal social activities because of physical and emotional problems Performs normal social activities without interference because of physical or emotional problems
Role emotional Problems with work or other daily activities as a result of emotional problems No problems with work or other daily activities
Mental health Feelings of nervousness and depression all of the time Feels peaceful, happy, and calm all of the time

**Table from    http://www.aihw.gov.au/diabetes-indicators/quality-of-life/

How do you rate your health today? What makes an impact on your quality of life?

Maybe consider that ext time you visit your health care provider, as to complete a Quality of Life Assessment.


🙂 And enjoy life by having a focus on the positives 🙂


1 Comment

  1. Sandra Williams on November 12, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    I think that your attitude to life is very important – it makes such a difference. If you feel positives and look for the positives, it is amazing what you will find in your life which is good. A friend is acknowledging the good things in her life for 30 days in her “30 days of positives”. It will get harder as the month goes on but is is great to see what she is finding that is good in her life. A good project for us all I think!