In the literature there are indications of associations between health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in inflammatory bowel disease and disease activity, psychological status, coping, stressful life events, and social support. The aim of this study was to examine whether a relation exists between quality of health care and HRQoL, taking possible confounding variables into account.
For this purpose, one single questionnaire was compiled from existing validated questionnaires. A population-based inception cohort of 1056 patients with inflammatory bowel disease in eight countries, diagnosed 6 to 8 years prior to the study, was approached to participate.
In total, 824 patients responded (78%), and 517 could be included in statistical analyses. It was shown that in inflammatory bowel disease HRQoL was indeed influenced by quality of care (particularly with regard to the parameters of “providing information,” “costs,” and “courtesy”), as well as by disease activity, psychological status, type of hospital, social support, stressful life events, and way of administration of the questionnaire. Patients with active disease had lower psychological status and HRQoL scores at the time of the survey than patients without active disease. However, quality of care scores did not differ between these groups. The care aspect “costs” was scored worse by CD compared with UC patients, probably caused by a potentially more expensive treatment.
In conclusion, it is shown in a large exploratory study, for the first time, that in inflammatory bowel disease, quality of care has a significant role in determining health-related quality of life.