Quality of life or quality in life?

by Jane Keep, London UK. 

In medicine, and in life, ‘quality of life’ can be used as a measure or as a way of making decisions.

Quality of life has many definitions including:

  • “The general well-being of a person or society, defined in terms of health and happiness, rather than wealth.” (1)
  • “The standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group.” (2)
  • “The patient’s ability to enjoy normal life activities.” (3)
  • “The degree of satisfaction an individual has regarding a particular style of life.” (4)
  • “A patient’s general well-being, including mental status, stress level, sexual function, and self-perceived health.” (5)

In health, decisions can be made based on quality of life e.g. helping patients make decisions about treatments, decisions about a care pathway through a particular illness, disease, or surgery, and decisions about end of life care. In our lives we can also make healthy living decisions about our quality of life – e.g. exercise, countryside walks, certain foods or nutrients. We also make quality of life decisions based on where we live e.g. to live in the countryside or in a certain town or village, and about what type of work or where we work e.g. flexible hours, or somewhere that is easy to commute to.

Whilst these conversations and decisions are important, do we ever consider our quality in life?

What if our quality in life is equal to or more important than our quality of life?

What’s the difference between our quality of life and our quality in life?

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