Original Research

Chronic illness and quality of life

C. J. Eales, A. V. Stewart, T. D. Noakes
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 56, No 4 | a527 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v56i4.527 | © 2018 C. J. Eales, A. V. Stewart, T. D. Noakes | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 September 2018 | Published: 30 November 2000

About the author(s)

C. J. Eales, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
A. V. Stewart, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
T. D. Noakes, Discovery Health Chair of Exercise and Sports Science, Division of Human Biology, University of Cape Town and Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Newlands, Cape, South Africa

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The major objective of medical care is to preserve life. If patients cannot be cured and are left with residual chronic diseases then the aim is to provide them with the means to lead a life of quality within the confines of their disease. Rehabilitation in chronic disease means restoring or creating a life of acceptable quality. This is achieved by restoring the patient to optimal physiological and psychological health compatible with the extent of the disease and in doing so improve the quality of life. Improved quality of life is the best indicator of successful rehabilitation. Patients with chronic diseases are increasingly expected to become partners when decisions are made regarding their therapy and therefor their evaluation of the outcome is of great importance. There are a number of shortcomings with quality of life evaluations and the most important one is that it does not seem to be adequately defined. Another major problem is that this evaluation usually focuses on aspects of physical function and few studies include subjective indicators. It is generally felt that the opinion of the spouse or caregiver should be included.


quality of life; rehabilitation outcome; chronic illness; measuring health


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