Conference Abstracts

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Quality of life and spirituality as unidimensional yet related pillars of life quality assessment

McDonald, T. A., 2014

CAPS National Conference, Australian National University, Canberra


Background: Quality of life is central to the way we pursue happiness and wellbeing and also how we incorporate our search for higher meaning or purpose. In the aged care environment, it is also a key indicator that residential care providers could use to judge their services to people. Persistent assumptions that disease and disability dictate life quality, despite such notions having fallen into disrepute, undermine the importance of individual experiences and how they deal with them. Knowing how a person responds to their circumstances and draws upon their social, human, natural and environmental capital, can guide the provision of appropriate support and standards of care so that spiritual and other human needs can be met. A scale that identifies the pillars upon which quality of life rests and assesses the strength of those pillars in terms of individual and ongoing status, focuses attention on individual experiences of life quality rather than on loss of ability.

Focus of presentation: The Long-term Care Quality of Life (LTC-QoL) scale produces summary information on the life quality experienced by all older adults in care, indicating aspects requiring attention in order to support their experiences, and providing management information on individual and care unit outcomes. The basic elements of the assessment cover social capacity, self-efficacy, relationships, mood state and feelings of security. Responses to these assessments conducted over several years were used to refine the scale and to calculate its reliability.

Results: The LTC-QoL scale was validated through repetition over 5 years with both cognitively intact and compromised residents. In terms of validity, no difference was found between males and females (p=0.77, t= -0.2989, df=55) or between those with or without dementia (p=0.75, t= -0.3149, df=48). The scale has good validity with the advantage of being brief and easy to use and with good test-retest reliability.

Conclusions: While the potential for males and females to experience quality of life is similar, dementia is also less impactful on life quality than is commonly thought. This assessment tool provides both general and targeted guidance to those caring for elderly people in long-term care contexts.

CITATION McDonald T. ' Quality of Life and Spirituality as unidimensional yet related pillars of life quality assessment'. Centre for Ageing and Pastoral Studies (CAPS) National Conference 2014: Diversity, change and spirituality and care aren’t what they used to be, University House, Australian National University, Canberra, 30 Sept – 2 Oct 2014


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