Accessing The Quality Of Life Of Patients
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex, long-term condition that does not have any diagnostic indicators. That being said, it might be prudent to gain insight from the patient’s perspective, and one of the ways in which this can be done is by measuring the quality of life (QoL). You will see that through the process of applying a patient related outcome measure (PROM), the medical professionals can gather valuable insights that have direct relevance to the patient in question.
This invaluable indicator that pertains to the quality of life of the patient, then serves as a therapeutic tool that can help in the instances of holistic and individualized professional interventions. In that way, special services can be recommended for the patient in question.
So, how exactly does one arrive at this indicator that will throw light on the quality of life of the patients?
Arriving at the indicator that reveals the quality of life for patients with CFS
Here you will find that the professionals utilize methods that are well regulated and validated. Things like fatigue, sleep and self-efficacy are reviewed in a format that is well replicated, even though the questions that are being asked are general in nature.
In the case of the determination of pain, you will come to see that it is represented by a visual analog scale. Then there is the short form SF-36 physical function scale that helps to capture the very specific physical activity. In the case of mood, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale is used.
So, what exactly is being measured here?
You will see that the process of measuring what is really important to the patient is what is regarded as the most therapeutic approach. There is an increasing need where it comes to understanding the personal experience of the illness and the needs of the patient, in order to have better decision-making.
That being said, it is important to acknowledge and understand the sources of the symptoms like fatigue, pain and low mod. Furthermore, health care professionals will find that if there has to be some positive change that is to be brought about, it also involves a certain degree of acceptance and also rediscovering the meaning in life, in spite of the lack of having the entire understanding of the mechanics of the condition.
All being said, it is important to note that the emphasis on patient experiences here, must not shift the focus of therapy, or even become the priority of the practitioner. That being said, the application of these PROMS does seem to have the potential to narrow the gap that exists between the practitioner’s view of clinical reality, and that of the patient’s.
Of course there is no clear cut way in which one can assess the quality of life of patients, but by using this indicator the healthcare professional is far better equipped to treat the patient as an individual and not merely as any other patient.
It is seen that the standard practice where it comes to treating patients that have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, does not appear to fully capture the experience of CFS. Undoubtedly there needs to be a lot more done in the field of assessing the quality of life of patients, in order to gain a better understanding of how exactly it is they feel.
There are indeed so many people worldwide that are afflicted by this condition, but no matter how professional the help and how timely and seemingly effective the interventions might be where it comes to bringing about some tangible, desirable change in the patients that are affected by it, there is a still a lot to be desired.
This is exactly where those PROMs come in, serving as a truly versatile intervention that is able to provide a rich data set and act as an invaluable tool where it comes to the improvement of quality. However, it need be noted that the measures that are to be employed, need to be sensitive enough where it comes to capturing complex variables, and to inform clinical commissioning.
All said and done, this is definitely a strategy that is here to stay.
You might also wish to check out our article on effective ways to manage chronic fatigue syndrome.