Administering the PozQoL scale

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Process for using PozQoL

IMPORTANT: PozQoL should only be used with people living with HIV (PLHIV).

📚 Related resource: PozQoL Implementation Kit (pdf download)

When to administer PozQoL

Key Points:

  • Administer PozQoL at an early appointment or before starting a new workshop or program
  • Wait at least 2 months before re-administering PozQoL
  • Repeat PozQoL quarterly (every 3 months) for targeted programs and workshops
  • Repeat PozQoL every 3 to 6 months in ongoing care and support services

It is best to administer PozQoL at an early appointment or at the beginning of workshops or other programs. This raises any potential concerns as early as possible. It also provides a baseline from which you can measure and track changes over time.

How often you should administer PozQoL depends on how quickly you expect to see changes. It also depends on how often you think clients will complete surveys. Be mindful that your patient or client may have already completed PozQoL elsewhere. Speak with your client or patient and find out if this is the case. If it is appropriate, they may prefer to share recent results with you instead of repeating the scale too often.

We found that repeating PozQoL every 3 months works well for targeted interventions (for example, workshops for people with a recent HIV diagnosis or peer navigation programs). In these cases, you should look for improvements in the total PozQoL score and in relevant domains.

For ongoing client appointments (for example, in welfare and support programs), changes after 3 months were present but not strong. We still recommend repeating PozQoL quarterly but be mindful that you might not expect to see changes before 3 to 6 months.

Our experience suggests that measurable changes in QoL do not usually occur in less than 2 months.

How to administer PozQoL

Key Points:

  • Consider the needs of both staff and clients
  • Both paper and electronic formats are effective
  • Use the recommended item order for best results

The PozQoL scale is available for download in several languages.

Services are welcome to adapt use these documents as they are, or they can incorporate the PozQoL items into their own surveys or forms. Both paper-based and electronic formats are effective.

Services should administer PozQoL in the way that best suits both their workers and the clients who will be completing the scale.

Some clients may prefer having time and privacy to complete the survey alone. However, be mindful that some people may benefit from extra help to read and fill out the survey.

Workers with limited time reported that it was helpful to ask clients to complete PozQoL ahead of time or while in the waiting room. (Again, be mindful of clients who may need extra help.)

Offer your client the option to complete the scale in their own language if it is available.

Item order

It is best if items from all four domains are mixed together (instead of asking all of the items from one domain, then all of the items from the next domain and so on).

In addition to this, some of the items indicate positive feelings — for example, “I am enjoying life”. Others are negative — for example, “I worry about my health”. It is best if positively and negatively worded items are mixed up.

We recommended using the following order and introduction text when administering PozQoL.

“This survey is intended for people living with HIV. We would like to ask you about your health, relationships, life satisfaction, and wellbeing. Please indicate how much the following statements apply to you on a scale from 1 (not at all) to 5 (extremely).”

1 — not at all                  2 — slightly                  3 — moderately                  4 — very                  5 — extremely

  1. I am enjoying life.
  2. I worry about my health.
  3. I lack a sense of belonging with people around me.
  4. I feel that HIV prevents me from doing as much as I would like.
  5. I feel good about myself as a person.
  6. Having HIV limits my opportunities in life.
  7. I worry about the impact of HIV on my health.
  8. I feel in control of my life.
  9. I am afraid that people may reject me when they learn I have HIV.
  10. Managing HIV wears me out.
  11. I feel that HIV limits my personal relationships.
  12. I fear the health effects of HIV as I get older.
  13. I am optimistic about my future.