Support Groups Can Improve Quality of Life

by Dan Roberts
Researchers have found that facilitated patient support groups can significantly improve visual quality of life (VQoL) for visually impaired people. Twenty-nine groups of up to six patients each were recruited for participation in a “peer group emotional support service” facilitated by trained counselors for a period of six months. Their responses to questions were measured at the start of the service, at the end of the service, and six months after completion of the service.
For the group as a whole, VQoL significantly improved between the beginning of the service and the end, but six months later was no better than at the start. Those with poorer initial VQoL, however, showed significantly greater improvements after six months. The issues that became and remained easier were “feeling lonely or isolated due to eyesight”, “feeling sad or low due to eyesight”, and “feeling worried about general safety outside the home”.
Addressing the difference between people with initially higher and lower VQoL, the researchers concluded that “different interventions may be needed for those with initially good VQoL and to improve other aspects of quality of life not influenced by the service.”
Source: Optometry & Vision Science (August 2013 – Volume 90 – Issue 8 – p 836-842)
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