The researchers have set up an online survey to collect information on the factors that contribute to the quality of life of people in Britain.
The results will be used to create a survey that doctors can use to assess a patient's perception of their quality of life and work out the potential impact of medical intervention on their everyday lives.
This is important because a person's perception of their quality of life can, for example, influence how quickly they recover from an operation or make a difference to the psychological impact they experience when they become ill. In the U.S. for example, the availability of accessible health and social care is one of the most important influences on quality of life," said Professor Skevington, who heads the WHO Field Center for the Study of Quality of Life at the University of Bath. "It is not so much a country's standard of living that has an affect on quality of life, but more the meaning that these resources have for your life. For example, extensive living space is important in the U.S. but is less important in Japan, an equally developed country."
The on-line survey, which is sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission, asks people questions about their experiences over a two-week period, their ability to do activities and their satisfaction with various important aspects of their life. Respondents will then be able to print out a quality of life profile that includes a graphical analysis of their physical health, psychological well being, social relationships, environment and overall quality of life.
"Surgeons tell us that they can do exactly the same procedure on two similar people, but whilst one is back at work within a week, the other can become depressed and disabl
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