The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Quality of Life (QOL) as “individuals’ perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns. It is a broad ranging concept affected in a complex way by the person’s physical health, psychological state, level of independence, social relationships, personal beliefs and their relationship to salient features of their environment”.
Likewise, in the disability field, QOL is best viewed as a subjective perception of individuals.
When it comes to the rehabilitation sector, the QOL becomes an important factor to consider when assessing the impact of the service delivered. Measuring QOL empowers those using the service by giving them the possibility to provide a full account of the impact of the service based on their own experience and perception. Furthermore, having feedback directly from those using the service and on the impact the service has on their lives, service providers can use this to further improve the service based on concrete needs. Lastly, service providers can use QOL assessment tools to demonstrate how programmes effectively serve the users and meet their needs. Having this information can be particularly important when presenting results to managers, funders or policy-makers.
Given the crucial role of QOL for service users, EPR and its members developed a unique QOL system to measure impact of services on perceived quality of life and outcomes for people with disabilities. It includes a logical modelling procedure, a questionnaire for service users and benchmarking process for participating organisations. More information on the SIQOL (Service Impacts on Quality of Life) system below.