Measurement of Impact on QOL

Change in QOL is an outcome variable that has import on the acceptance or abandonment of an AT device or program. The measurement of impact on QOL therefore becomes an important line of research. Commonly, the person interested in demonstrating effectiveness of an intervention will fashion an index of QOL that includes those domains that are expected to be impacted the most. The researcher will give the identical questionnaire both pre- and postintervention and will demonstrate that the intervention was successful. But the changes may be due to concurrent events and not to the intervention itself. Moreover, the new index is rarely transferable across time and conditions.

In 1996, the Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices Scale (PIADS) was produced. This is a 26-item generic questionnaire designed to measure the impact of AT devices in terms of three generally accepted QOL factors, competence, adaptability, and self-esteem. A number of studies have demonstrated that the PIADS is a reliable, valid, and responsive measure of a variety of AT devices (e.g., eyeglasses, electronic aids for daily living, and mechanical ventilators). One finding is that the impact on QOL remains stable over time, and, in a number of studies, significant differences on the QOL factors were found between retainers and abandoners of AT devices, leading to the prediction of abandonment of various AT.

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