The paradoxes of quality of life and its phenomenological approach

J Palliat Care. 1994 Spring;10(1):37-41.


Although evaluation scales for quality of life (QOL) represent considerable progress in medicine, clinical experience shows striking discrepancies between QOL as evaluated by caregivers and QOL from the patient's point of view. Such paradoxes of QOL are analyzed and discussed. Autonomy is universally advocated but may be denied, especially in the hospital setting, where caregivers, family members, and doctors act as a pressure group. Circumstances that deepen the contradictions in QOL assessment include (a) a high degree of patient dependence, (b) a professional judgement that a patient is incompetent (c) professional values being placed over a patient's values, (d) a multidisciplinary team acting as a pressure group, (e) a lack of effective communication with the patient, and (f) a determination to minimize the symptoms at evaluation. QOL is multidimensional, complex, difficult to measure in clinical practice, and sometimes paradoxical.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Mental Competency
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Participation
  • Quality of Life*
  • Terminal Care / psychology*