Background: Quality of life (QoL) is becoming an increasingly used outcome measure in both clinical practice and research but little is known about QoL in dementia and how it may change over time.
Objective: To study longitudinal change in quality of life over a period of one year in 60 people with dementia aged 65 years or over.
Methods: The original sample was selected from inpatient, day hospital, nursing home and residential home settings within a London Mental Health Trust. The QoL-AD, DQoL and EQ-5D were assessed at baseline and repeated one-year later. At follow-up the CSDD, MMSE and RAID were also completed.
Results: Fifty-eight people were traced and of these 40 (69%) were alive at follow up. There was no mean change in quality of life over the one-year period, however around half of the people had increases or decreases in their quality of life. The only significant predictor of quality of life at follow-up was initial quality of life (p < 0.0005). Quality of life at follow-up correlated significantly with depression (p < 0.0005) and anxiety (p <0.01) but not with cognition.
Conclusion: The main finding of this study is that people with dementia do not perceive that their quality of life declined over a period of one-year. More people were able to complete the QoL-AD than the DQoL or EQ-5D at follow-up and it seemed easier to use for people with severe dementia. Future research should investigate how quality of life changes over longer time periods with larger samples and in relation to specific interventions.