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Quality of Life Measurement and Alcoholism: A Nursing Perspective

  • J. H. Foster
Reference work entry

Abstract:

The measurement of  Quality of life (QOL) has become of increasing interest to researchers and policy makers since the late 1980s. In the field of alcohol dependency research in this area is still relatively uncommon. In nursing what is usually measured is  health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Research has shown there is only a moderate correlation between clinicians/nurses assessment of HRQOL and their patients, hence the importance of the subjective view of the patient when assessing “treatment effectiveness.” Initially this chapter will look at some of the philosophy underpinning the measurement of QOL. Nurses will often encounter drinkers who do not recognize they have an alcohol-related problem, rarely will patients present to primary and often secondary care with a primary alcohol problem, though there are many conditions where alcohol consumption is implicated. These are briefly considered and a number of  screening tools are introduced to help the nurse recognize problem drinkers in their practice. Thus HRQOL is only really meaningful when an individual accepts they have a level of alcohol dependency. At present an alcohol-specific HRQOL measure does not exist thus it is assessed by a battery of questionnaires headed by a generic HRQOL measure. The gold-standard generic HRQOL measure is the SF-36 and it should be used by nurses. However it cannot be used alone as contains no measure of sleep or social isolation, both of which have been shown to be associated with poor outcomes. The chapter summarizes some of the evidence to date regarding the measurement of HRQOL in alcohol dependent individuals and provides pointers for the nurse wishing to conduct HRQOL measurements either as part of routine practice or research. It concludes with an optimistic message. If the nurse can help the patient to either stop or reduce their drinking then there are big short-term improvements in HRQOL scores which are maintained thereafter. This is a group of patients that are rewarding to work with and HRQOL measurement is a “worthwhile nursing endeavor.”

Keywords

Nottingham Health Profile Hazardous Drinking Addiction Severity Index Alcohol Dependent Individual Present Health Status 
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.

List of Abbreviations:

ADI

alcohol dependent individuals

ALQOL 9

alcohol quality of life questionnaire- 9 items

APQ

alcohol problems questionnaire

ASI

addiction severity index

AUDIT

alcohol use disorders identification test

DSM –IV

American Psychiatric Association diagnostic and statistical manual-IV

EQ-5D

EuroQOL (European quality of life questionnaire)

FAST

fast alcohol screening test; GHQ, general health questionnaire

HADS

hospital anxiety and depression scale

HRQOL

health related quality of life

LSS

life situation survey

NHP

Nottingham health profile

PAT

the Paddington alcohol test

PHEPA

primary health care European project on alcohol

QOL

quality of life

SADQ

severity of alcohol dependence questionnaire

SF-36

short-form-36

VAS

visual analogue scale

WHOQOL-BREF

World Health Organization quality of life questionnaire. (brief version)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. H. Foster
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health and Social Sciences, Archway CampusMiddlesex UniversityLondonUnited Kingdom

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