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Gerontologist. 2013 Apr;53(2):205-10. doi: 10.1093/geront/gns093. Epub 2012 Aug 2.

Health-related quality of life: expanding a conceptual framework to include older adults who receive long-term services and supports.

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  • 1Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


For older adults receiving long-term services and supports (LTSS), health-related quality of life (HRQoL) has emerged as a critical construct to examine because of its focus on components of well-being, which are affected by progressive changes in health status, health care, and social support. HRQoL is a health-focused quality of life (QOL) concept that encompasses aspects of QOL that affect health such as function, physical, and emotional health. Examining existing theoretical constructs and indicators of HRQoL among LTSS recipients led us to posit a revised conceptual framework for studying HRQoL among LTSS recipients. We adapted the Wilson and Cleary HRQoL model by expanding function to specifically include cognition, adding behavior and LTSS environmental characteristics in order to create a more robust HRQoL conceptual framework for older adults receiving LTSS. This refined conceptual model allows for the measurement of a mix of structural, process, and outcome measures. Continued development of a multidimensional conceptual framework with specific HRQoL measures that account for the unique characteristics of older adults receiving LTSS will contribute significantly to LTSS research, policy, and planning efforts.

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