The opening section of this paper is concerned with certain questions concerning the concept ‘quality of life’ Is it possible for one person to make judgements about the quality of life of another? If it is possible, then is it morally acceptable? Given that quality of life is a concept and therefore not amenable to direct observation, which visible phenomena will be chosen as its indicators, and how can their choice be justified? Do the components of a life of quality vary from person to person, or can features be identified which are common to all? Next, it is argued that instruments which have been developed to measure quality of life give clues to the ontological beliefs of their authors, those which address fragments of the human experience, or accept the artificial limits of the subjective/objective dichotomy, are expressive of a fractured and reductionist view of what it means to be a human being Finally, it is suggested that the adoption of insights drawn from Heidegger's work would enable us to develop a rather more unified view of quality of life as quality of being, and that this theoretical principle might constitute a common link between nurses of varying professional backgrounds.