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Using PozQoL:
Using PozQoL to support individuals with HIV

How to use PozQoL:

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Using PozQoL to support clients and patients

PozQoL Domain Scores can help service providers understand more about their clients or patients. This helps them make better decisions about the care they provide. It can also help them understand the kinds of referrals that might have the most benefits for their clients or patients.

The following table (downloadable version) provides recommendations for working with PLHIV with low scores in different domains.

Although the table is a helpful guide, it does not replace talking with clients. It is always important to ask clients (and listen to their) answers about:

  • Why they think they scored the way they did in a particular domain
  • What kind of kind of support they need or would like to have

Using PozQoL Scores to improve HIV service and outcomes

DomainA person with a low score in this domain may be:They might benefit from:Suggested referrals:
Psychological*Experiencing poor mental health, for example:
  • Low mood
  • Negative outlook about themself, their life, or their future
  • Further discussion about their mental health
  • Assessment using diagnostic mental health tools
  • Counselling services
  • Community rehabilitation and support services
  • Care and support
Social
  • Experiencing some difficulties in relationships with other people
  • Experiencing HIV-related discrimination
  • Lacking a sense of belonging and support
Meeting PLHIV peers, who can assist in:
  • Overcoming isolation due to fear of stigma
  • Managing disclosure and confidence
  • Peer support
  • Peer navigation
  • Care and support
Health Concerns
  • Currently experiencing some difficulties managing their health
  • Concerned that their health will deteriorate due to HIV — even if they are enjoying good health at the moment
  • Discussing treatment options or revisions
  • Speaking with PLHIV peers about managing HIV
  • Information about maintaining good health with HIV
  • Medical services
  • Health promotion
  • Peer education
  • Care and support
  • Counselling
Functional
  • Experiencing some difficulties with incorporating HIV into their everyday life
  • Lacking functional independence
  • Experiencing some financial distress
  • Meeting PLHIV peers
  • Community or financial support or advice
  • Community support
  • Financial and housing assistance
  • Personal development

* PozQoL is not a diagnostic tool. If you are not a mental health worker but you are concerned about your patient or client’s mental health, it is important to refer them to a mental health service.

Related information:

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Example of using PozQoL to support individuals

Previously, we looked at what the PozQoL Scores from this PozQoL Scale told us about a client’s quality of life (QoL).

The client’s PozQoL Scores indicated that they were experiencing:

  • High overall QoL
  • High to very high QoL in the psychological and social domains
  • Moderate QoL in the health concerns and functional domains

These scores show that this client is doing well overall. But they also show that the client might benefit from some extra support in the health concerns and functional domains.


Providing support for people with lower scores in the Health Concerns Domain

The health concerns domain is about how someone feels about their own health. It includes health-related worries and energy. It also includes how easy they find it to manage HIV and HIV treatment.

The items on the PozQoL Scale that assess this domain (and the example client’s responses) are:

2. I worry about my health. (Moderately)
7. I worry about the impact of HIV on my health. (Moderately)
12. I fear the health effects of HIV as I get older. (Very)

These items obviously don’t cover every possible health concern a person may have. But they do indicate that this person is worried about their health, generally. And that they are worried about how HIV might affect their health, especially as they age.

They might benefit from talking to someone about their treatment and health. Information about staying healthy while ageing with HIV may help alleviate their fears. And these conversations may help to draw out other concerns the client has about managing their health with HIV.

The client might benefit from a referral to one of the other services in the table above. It is important to talk to the client about what kind of support they would like to help them with their worries.


Providing support for people with lower scores in the Functional Domain

The functional domain is about whether a person feels that they can live what they would call a “normal” life. It includes independence, meaningful occupation, and good standard of living.

The items on the PozQoL Scale that assess this domain (and the example client’s responses) are:

4. I feel that HIV prevents me from doing as much as I would like. (Moderately)
6. Having HIV limits my opportunities in life. (Moderately)
10. Managing HIV wears me out. (Not at all)

Again, these items don’t cover every possible concern a person may have in this domain. But they do indicate that this person feels somewhat like HIV is stopping them from living the life they want.

For example, it may be that managing HIV does not wear them out because they have someone who helps them, but that needing someone’s help makes the client feel less independent.

It is impossible to know what is going on for this client without talking to them.

The client might benefit from a referral to one of the other services in the table above. But, again, it is important to talk to the client about what kind of support they need or would like.

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