Quality of life and mental health status of hansen disease patients, attending a designated leprosy care center in South-India.
Background: "Quality of life (QOL)" is relatively a new concept, which originates from the World Health Organization (WHO) "health" definition. The WHO defines "health" as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity. It introduces a word, "well-being," which has two components, one the objective component and the second subjective component. The objective component mainly includes all the material possession by an individual, whereas the subjective component includes the perception of health by an individual, i.e., "QoL." It has been observed that most of the persons affected by Hansen's Disease (leprosy) have good economic conditions, but they continue to suffer from social, psychological, and physical problems which makes their life miserable. Hence, an attempt has been made to assess their QOL and factors determining them.
Method: A convenient sampling technique was used and 114 persons affected with Hansen's disease were studied. The study was conducted for a period of 1 year from November 2012 to October 2013. QOL was assessed using the WHO QOL-BREF Questionnaire and mental health status by the Self-Reporting Questionnaire. The results were obtained using SPSS 17.0 software, statistical tests such as Chi-square test, ANOVA, and standard multiple logistic regression analysis were used.
Results: Quality of leprosy patients was poor. The mean WHOQOL-BREF total score was below average (mean score <65). Physical QOL of leprosy was more affected in females (mean WHOQOL-BREF score = 20.80). Mental distress was more prevalent in males (74.6%) compared to females (25.4%). Presence of deformities, female sex of the patient, and advanced age of the patient showed the greatest association with adverse QOL.
Conclusion: Presence of physical disabilities or deformities and advanced age of leprosy patients adversely affect QOL of leprosy patients, whereas low level of education and poor socioeconomic status do not have a significant effect on QOL.