LEAF- 7 Development
LEAF-7 development began in response to the lack of an appropriate validated measure with which we could demonstrate the impact of our services on the vulnerable older people we served. In 2011, we took a decision to work with academics to support us with this work. Working initially with Leeds Metropolitan University, existing Quality of Life measures were proposed and trialled with our clients, such as the Outcomes Star. The ICECAP-O and ASCOT were also considered neither quite fitted the requirements of a voluntary sector organisation seeking to provide support to older community dwelling yet vulnerable people.
The Capability Approach
The decision then, to develop a new tool for measuring quality of life in the population served by the charity was driven both by a gap in the measures available and by the need to develop a measure that was acceptable to the recipient and the staff administering the measure. The ‘capability’ approach which provides the theoretical underpinning of ASCOT and ICECAP was felt to be relevant to the development of our new assessment tool, reflecting as it does current thinking in understanding quality of life as a psychological appraisal rather than reporting purely on the functional indicators of health status . Capturing a persons sense of ‘capability’ can be taken to represent the ‘real opportunity’ to achieve things in life that a person ‘has reason to value’.
Life Domains in LEAF-7
Taking our lead also from ASCOT and ICECAP which seek to provide a comprehensive measure of quality of life by encompassing the all domains in life that are important to older adults. The LEAF-7 too adopts this approach and in its final iteration participants are asked to appraise their capability in life across seven domains: Managing Daily Living, Managing Health, Social Contact, Enjoyment, Value, Safety and Security and Choice and Control.
Validation of LEAF-7
The LEAF-7 questionnaire was validated by Sheffield Hallam University in September 2016.