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.