There is no technical language with which to speak of patients' quality of life, there are no standard measures and no authority to validate criteria of measurement. It is well known that 'professionals' tend, often for institutional reasons, to play down or undervalue factors which are not defined by their particular expertise. It is fortunate that, despite this tendency, there is a growing interest in broadening the evaluation of medical care, but there is still a need to clarify what is at issue in considerations of quality of life. This article examines the strengths and weaknesses of one approach to assessing quality of life, and sketches out the implications for anyone concerned to establish a framework within which both medical and non-medical objectives of care can be taken into account.
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