HCBS Training

Domains that Reflect Quality of Life

4 woman laughing

Part of the challenge is to find ways to review each person’s quality of life and to monitor progress. This page includes a list of quality of life domains often used when supporting people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. You can see these domains are similar to the wellness areas in mental health, but include some terms that are more important to people with disabilities.

Think about the HCBS you provide and how quality of life is measured. Certain domains become more important during different stages of a person’s life. Given the types of services that you provide, are there domains that are considered more important? For example, the Rights domain may not be a key issue for young children who are living with their families. The quality of life of an entire family as a unit might be a better way to evaluate changes in services for a young child. Assessment tools can vary as well. There are different assessment tools that can be used based on each type of service that is provided (see the Module 4 Resources for examples ).

  • Emotional Wellbeing – Positive connections with others; stable homes, work and other places the person is a part of that are predictable and safe
  • Interpersonal Relations – Having friends and affection; interacting with others at home and in communities of which they belong
  • Material Well-being – Owning property or items that are valued; work that is meaningful
  • Personal Development – Growing as a person both in education and experience
  • Physical Well-Being – Maintaining the best possible health and mobility
  • Self-Determination – Setting personal goals; making decisions about important life choices
  • Social Inclusion – Making meaningful connections with others; having a support network; feeling included and a part of a community
  • Rights – Key items or property in one’s own name; being allowed due process; privacy; freedom from barriers

Adapted from Schalock, R. L., Brown, I., Brown, R., Cummins, R. A., Felce, D., Matikka, L., Keith, K. D., & Parmenter, T. (2002). Conceptualization, measurement, and application of quality of life for persons with intellectual disabilities: Report of an international panel of experts. Mental Retardation, 40(6), 457–470.

Think about the services you provide and how to assess quality of life. What types of information can be collected to assess positive changes that happen over time? The Module Resource section includes a list of different types of surveys, assessment tools, and resources that can help teams think about what to include in the self-assessment.


Please continue working through item #13 in the MN Team Checklist (the self-assessment) using the HCBS Planning Tool. 

Deeper Dive into Quality-of-Life Assessments.

  • How does your organization currently assess quality -of-life?
  • What are the identified gaps related to how your organization assesses quality-of-life?
  • Are there changes that the team needs to make when assessing quality-of-life?

Minnesota Team Checklist

HCBS Planning Tool

If you haven't already done so please use these links to access the tools.