One of the fundamental aims of nursing is to safeguard or promote patients' "quality of life". In this text, the author examines existing ways of defining the concept and argues that nurses need to adopt a fresh approach, which more accurately reflects patients' concerns and helps them to develop practical ways of promoting the well-being of people in their care. Part one provides an analysis of statistical approaches to quality of life, including social indicators, the Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY), and the medical outcomes literature. In part two the author proposes an alternative, qualitative approach to organizing care, which respects the patients' choice and individuality. Part three presents the findings of new research into the quality of life of older people in hospital wards.
Peter Draper is Lecturer in Nursing at the University of Hull