The Quality of Life
The Missing Measurement in Health Care
In an age of increasingly sophisticated medical technology, there has been a growing tendency to concentrate on the treatment of disease while forgetting that medicine is about caring for the individual. People suffering from chronic or fatal diseases may find that the benefits of some types of treatment are outweighed by the psychological effects and decline in their quality of life.
This timely and topical book, aimed at all those in the caring professions as well as the general public, sets out to show that the aim of prolonging life is not necessarily always the best goal in terms of enabling the individual to continue with a life that he or she considers worth living. Definitions of what constitutes quality of life draw on literary and philosophical sources as well as those from medical sciences, and the author discusses in detail some of the different measures that have been developed for specific disease states, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, AIDS and the universal problems of ageing and dying.
Emotional well-being plays a large part in a person’s ability to cope with illness, and response to treatment will depend on a number of factors, including temperament, lifestyle and physical condition. Individual perceptions of what makes life bearable vary so greatly that patient involvement and quality of life measurement are essential in any decision-making about treatment.
At a time when shrinking financial resources are being required to be spread more thinly, the new science of health economics is endangering even further patients’ quality of life. The author argues strongly for a reassessment of policies which may lead to a concentration on cost-effective treatments at the expense of those which, ignoring the human factor, may appear less economically worthwhile.
Based on extensive research, this important book asks all who are involved in caring for others to take stock and re-examine their priorities.
In 2010 Lesley Fallowfield was awarded the Pfizer/BOA Excellence in Oncology, Lifetime Achievement Award. She has published over 300 papers, many book chapters and 3 text books, and her research interests include the measurement of quality of life in clinical trials of cancer therapy and the training of communication skills for health care professionals in cancer.
Published in the highly-acclaimed Human Horizons Series, the pre-eminent list for people with disabilities, the elderly and the afflicted, and those who care for them, written by the leading experts.