Quality of Life in Chronic Disease

How do we measure quality of life (QOL)? How do we know we are meeting our patients’ needs?

Whether patients are pursing curative treatments or are in the end-of-life phases of their disease processes, QOL is a term that is used to direct care and engage patients and their families in discussions related to their treatment plans. Chronic diseases are a unique setting for this term, because initial measures for QOL may change in the course of treatment and in the disease process. As we dive into chronic disease management, understanding the impact of successful and failed treatments can help providers build in supports for patients through their course of intervention. Bremer et al. (1989) highlight the impact on QOL measures for failed kidney transplant patients. Subsequent treatment plans inherently required mental health supports for patients whose initial treatment plan failed. Ongoing conversations to understand a patient’s perspective on QOL is essential to creating a comprehensive treatment plan. This approach asserts that the practitioner recognize that QOL is a moving target and will change with the patient’s clinical status. Further, assessment of side-effects related to pharmacological interventions and the interplay of comorbidities as they impact comfort and capacity suggest that QOL measures are more complex than just symptom mitigation (Edgell et al, 1996). QOL is an essential measure for successfully partnering with patients in chronic disease management.

Elite Home Health & Hospice perceives quality of life as the life desired by our patient. No one size fits all, and we plan for individualized treatment for patients that come to us on home health and progress to hospice. We are also expanding to provide palliative care services for patients still pursuing curative treatments who need the expertise of a practitioner to create QOL treatment plans.