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The Concept of Care-Related Quality of Life

  • Marja Vaarama
  • Richard Pieper

In gerontology, there is a substantial and increasing body of theoretical and empirical research on quality of life (QoL) in old age, especially in psychology and health-related research. However, a specific focus on QoL of frail older persons or older persons with permanent need of external help is rare, and even more neglected is the role of care for their QoL. In addition, the question of how much the existing definitions really reflect the opinions of older people themselves has got too little attention (Bowling, Gabriel, Banister, & Sutton, 2002). These notions motivated the Care Keys research to search for a better understanding of the role of homecare and institutional care for the QoL of frail older persons. Applying the production of welfare approach (see Chapter 1), the aim was to produce information on the specific life situations of these older persons, and on the linkages between care and QoL. By providing a model of care-related QoL we aimed at a concept that would allow for the evaluation of care practices in view of their outcomes for frail older persons, thus supporting development of care practices as well as quality management of (long-term) care.

Searching for a theoretical model of QoL of frail older persons we found suitable starting points, but also encountered unresolved issues and open questions. This situation prompted the Care Keys research to proceed in two directions. First, we selected concepts and instruments that were available in the literature, introduced some preliminary adaptations to the life circumstances of frail older persons receiving care, and investigated the relation of care quality to QoL as an outcome. Second, we took a closer look at the theoretical issues and their relevance for a concept of care-related QoL. While the empirical research is reported elsewhere (see Part III), the results of the theoretical reflections on QoL are presented and discussed in this chapter.

Keywords

Life Satisfaction Production Model Dementia Care Care Relationship Social Indicator Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marja Vaarama
    • 1
  • Richard Pieper
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Social WorkUniversity of LaplandFinland
  2. 2.Fak. Sozial-u. Wirtschaftswiss. Urbanistik und SozialplanungUniversity of BambergGermany

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