Quality of Life among Dialysis Patients in United Arab Emirates
Background: Quality of Life (QOL) has emerged as an important parameter for evaluating the quality of health care for patients with renal failure. The QOL of dialysis patients in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has not previously been studied. This research examined the cultural relevancy of two QOL tools and compared the QOL between dialysis patients and a sample from the community in UAE. Method: A descriptive comparative survey design was used to study the QOL of 161 dialysis patients and 350 participants from the community. Dialysis patients completed the SF-36 and the QOL Index dialysis version tool. Participants from the community completed the SF-36 and QOL Index generic version tool. Both samples also completed three open-ended questions about the cultural relevancy of the tools. Analysis using descriptive and inferential statistics was done within and between groups to establish similarities and differences in QOL scores. Open-ended questions were analysed thematically. Results: The overall QOL for dialysis patients was rated lower when self-assessed using the SF-36 compared with the community sample (58.92 vs. 75.02, p = <0.0001). Furthermore, the overall QOL for dialysis patients was rated almost the same when self-assessed using the QOL Index compared with the community sample (77.2 vs. 78.6, p = 0.421). Moreover, the total scores of both tools were higher in the community sample (75.02 vs. 78.6). The comparison between the statistically significant variables for both samples revealed contradictory results with the two tools. The majority of participants considered both tools culturally relevant in general. There were more questions that were not answered by participants in the QOL Index by both samples compared with the SF-36. Conclusion: In the UAE the SF 36 and the QOL Index capture different aspects of quality of life. Clinicians and researchers need to be aware of these differences when using these tools. An effective way of establishing the cultural relevancy of QOL tools involves comparing the QOL of a group with a health condition with a sample from the community, asking the participants about their views of the cultural relevancy of the tools, examining missing data, and asking participants open-ended questions about what they value in life.