Assessing quality-of-life in older people in care homes

Age Ageing. 2011 Jul;40(4):507-12. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afr027. Epub 2011 Mar 31.


Background: many measures of quality-of-life (QoL) may not be suitable for older people in care homes, and do not cover the most relevant domains for individuals.

Objective: to describe QoL of older people living in care homes using the SEIQoL-DW and the two 10-point rating scales, and to describe how people were using these measures.

Design: we used quantitative methods to describe QoL, and qualitative methods to explore residents' experiences of completing the measures.

Setting: three care homes in the United Kingdom.

Sample: twenty residents.

Methods: residents completed the measures in interviews. We report descriptive statistics for QoL, the most important QoL domains for residents, completion rates and experiences of administering the instruments.

Results: the most important QoL domains identified in the SEIQoL-DW were leisure activities; family; relationships; social life; independence and peace and contentment. Physical limitations and difficulty in understanding the instructions and concepts made completing it a challenge. The SEIQoL index was strongly correlated with a single 10-point rating of current QoL (rho = 0.67, P = 0.007).

Conclusions: to fully understand residents' QoL, detailed interview-based instruments, administered by an experienced interviewer are needed. To measure current QoL, for example, as an outcome measure, a simple single rating scale may suffice.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Health Status*
  • Homes for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • London
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires