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  • Updated 01.17.2024
  • Released 05.05.2009
  • Expires For CME 01.17.2027

Quality-of-life scales for neurologic diseases



Neurologic diseases can have profound impact on all areas of a patient's life, including cognitive, physical, sensory, emotional, and social functioning. Because few of these diseases are curable, treatment tends to focus on limiting disease progression and relieving symptoms. Therefore, health-related quality-of-life (HRQL) outcomes that assess functional ability and well-being are important for evaluating research and clinical practices. HRQL is a useful indicator of overall health. It captures information on the physical, mental, and emotional health status of individuals and on the impact of health status on quality of life. HRQL information is best obtained by asking patients directly, using validated questions with standardized response options. HRQL measurement tools are readily available and can easily be incorporated into practice without adding burden to the clinician. In this article, the authors review the value of collecting HRQL information, the types of HRQL measures that can be used for neurologic diseases, considerations to use when selecting a measure, and recent initiatives that can make HRQL assessment in neurology practical and clinically useful. New HRQL measurement tools, guidance documents, and potential uses of HRQL measures are presented.

Key points

• HRQL assessment provides patient-centered information that can be useful for research, clinical care, and performance monitoring.

• Selection of HRQL measures should be guided by the purpose of the assessment, the setting in which it will be used, and the characteristics of the measure.

• NIH-funded measurement systems, such as Neuro-QOL, provide standard assessment tools that can enable cross-disease comparisons along with disease-specific results.

• Disease-specific HRQL measures have become especially useful in recent years, and they can provide tailored insight into individual patient populations.

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