Self-Reported Quality of Life (QOL)

In order to support more fully the principles of self-determination and empowerment, interRAI recently released a series of site-specific Self-Reported Quality of Life (QOL) instruments. These short surveys are designed to give persons enrolled in formal care programs the opportunity to share their perceptions on a variety of quality-of-life domains not otherwise addressed in our assessment systems, including relationships, environment, comfort, food, and participation in meaningful activities.

The interRAI QOL surveys are meant to be used during a private interview with a person who is cognitively able to respond (generally, a person whose Cognitive Performance Scale is ≤ 3, or moderately impaired). Alternately, the survey can be filled out by the person and returned by mail. Participation is meant to be voluntary, and agencies are encouraged to deploy interviewers who are not formally involved in the person’s care. A five-level response set is used for all items. Answers to the QOL items may be reviewed with the person at a later time to address gaps or problems that might be ameliorated through additional care planning activity; collated results can also be used to assess overall quality of life in a particular program or care setting and to plan specific improvements in service delivery or program offerings.

Research activities to test and refine the QOL instruments have involved a consortium of interRAI Fellows across many cultures. An article detailing these activities is being prepared for future publication.

The Self-Reported Quality of Life Survey for Mental Health and Addictions (QOL-MHA)

The interRAI Self-Reported Quality of Life Survey for Mental Health and Addictions (QOL-MHA) is designed to address the subjective aspects of quality of from the perspective of persons received mental health services in community and inpatient settings. The instrument is currently in the research phase with pilot studies underway in Canada, Finland, Russia, United States, Iceland, and South Korea. The QOL-MHA functions as a complementary assessment to interRAI’s clinician rated assessment instruments (e.g., interRAI MH and interRAI CMH). The QOL-MHA deals with a variety aspects of quality of life and service quality using a recovery framework to examine the person’s experience. The 41-item survey can be administered by interviewed in person or over the telephone, and it may also be self-administered by respondents with adequate cognitive functioning.

The domain areas covered by the QOL-MHA include: personal outlook; autonomy and self-determination; meaningful activities; friends and family; community; staff relationships; privacy; empowerment and support; discrimination and life circumstances; and access to services.

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