New tool can help assess quality of life for people living with IPF

A summary of research published in the European Respiratory Journal

A new study has tested a tool that can help healthcare professionals understand how idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) impacts a person’s life.

Health-related quality of life measurements can be used alongside clinical measurements, such as blood pressure and lung function, to assess how a condition impacts the person with it.  Tools do exist to look at quality of life for people with IPF, but they take a long time to complete and were originally designed for research studies, not everyday care settings, such as hospital appointments.

What did the study look at?

Healthcare professionals and people with IPF created a short and simple questionnaire. They held group discussions to decide what factors and symptoms had the biggest impact on quality of life. The final question asked a person to rate 5 factors (cough, shortness of breath, fatigue (tiredness), mood and overall well-being) with a score of 0-10. A lower number meant that the factor had little impact on a quality of life and a higher number suggested it had a big impact.

100 people with IPF in the UK were given this questionnaire during routine care appointments. To compare the effectiveness of this new tool, they were also asked to complete two other questionnaires that have been used in other IPF research studies and other standard tests, including a lung function test and walking tests, to help assess their quality of life.

What do the results show?

The new tool was found to be a useful measure of quality of life in IPF. It showed similar results to the questionnaires that have been designed for research studies. The authors found that the simple format of the questionnaire would make it a useful way to measure quality of life in care settings to understand the impact of the condition.

Why is this important?

The findings suggest the tool can quickly and accurately assess the impact IPF is having on a person’s quality of life. By identifying which areas of life are most affected and which symptoms are causing the most problems, healthcare professionals can advise on the best course of treatment and how to manage symptoms.

Read the original research paper

Title: R-Scale for Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF): a simple, visual tool for the assessment of health-related quality of life