ACPA Quality of Life Scale is Validate

We are delighted to announce that the American Chronic Pain Association’s Quality of Life Scale has been validated.  Because a tool must be validated to be used in clinical practice and pain-related research, our Quality of Life Scale can now be made available to hundreds of people with pain who may not have had access to it through their treatment teams before.

The validation study was conducted by Jaroslava Raudenská, Lucie Michalíkov1, Daniela Mičková, and Alena Javůrková  of  Charles University and University Hospital Motol and University Hospital Kralovske Vinohrady in Prague, Czech Republic and the ACPA’s Penney Cowan.

The Quality of Life Scale was developed in 1982 based on the ACPA’s belief that, while traditional 0 to 10 pain scales were useful in evaluating acute pain, they did not adequately capture the experiences of people living with chronic pain.

“We believed that, to evaluate the impact of chronic pain, it was important to look at its effect on function—the ability to carry out the tasks of daily living, said Penney Cowan, founder and chief executive officer of the ACPA.  “In looking at function, we believed that we could begin to reflect pain’s more intangible impact on quality of life.”

In addition, looking at function rather than the highly subjective pain scale numbers offers several advantages over pain scales:

  • It provides a way to measure improvement (or lack of it) during treatment,
  • It gives people with pain and their care team a common language for discussing the impact of pain, and
  • It shifts the focus of these discussions away from simply reducing pain toward a more wholistic way of treating an ongoing condition.

While the Quality of Life Scale has been widely used by many in managing their own pain and by health care providers over the years, this validation will allow the scale to take its place as an effective measure in research studies going forward.

As reported in the study findings, “This pilot study brings into clinical practice a method of measuring quality of life that may be used for cross-sectional, as well as longitudinal follow-up studies of patients with chronic pain after various multidisciplinary interventions, including psychotherapy.”  The ACPA is grateful to the researchers for their support in making this possible.