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Lecture 8

PSYC 2301 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Chronic Condition, Terminal Illness, Tinnitus

Course Code
PSYC 2301
Tarry Ahuja

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Chronic and terminal illness
- What is chronic illness?
- Quality of life
- Evaluating quality of life
- Death across our life span
- Psychological issues with terminal illness
What is chronic illness?
- Chronic refers to the duration of the disease/illness
- Has long term effects on your body
- Ranges from relatively mild to severe (life threatening)
- You may be born with this or develop later in life
- Factors include:
Genetics- Alzheimers, MS
Environmental- cancer, asthma
Lifestyle- CVD, HIV, gout
Previous injury or prolonged strain- lower back pain, tinnitus
Prevalence and impact (no need to memorize numbers)
- 58% of the population has a chronic condition
- 81% in the elderly subpopulation
- 2/3 of the Canada’s health spending
- Chronic conditions are more common in:
Certain ethnic subpopulations (aboriginal people)

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- More than 63% of death globally
- Can impact quality of life
- Staggering economic consequences:
Diabetes- 10 billion
Cancer- 18 billion
Arthritis- 20 billion
CVD/hypertension/stroke- 26 billion
Quality of life
- Different from “standard of living”
- Impacted by severity of chronic illness (ex: cancer = in bed all day)
- Influences patients interpretation of the illness
- Helps determine psychological contribution:
Stress (contributor)
- Quality of life has several components:
Physical functioning
Psychological status
Social functioning
Disease or treatment-related symptomology
- QoL assessments gauge the extent to which normal life activities have been compromised
Evaluating quality of life
- Assessment tools can be used to determine QoL (ex: SF-36)

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- Population norms can be established
- Allows for a comparative analysis across conditions between countries
- WHO also developed an assessment tool in 1991 named WHOQOL-BREF:
Comprised of 26 items
Physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and environment
Evaluating quality of life
- Quality of life may fluctuate:
Characteristics of the illness
Acute phase vs. symptom-free or managed phases
Acute changes in symptoms
Progression of the illness, flare-ups
Age-related changes over time
Elderly vs. patients under 25 yrs
Impact how people experience common illness
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