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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2005 Nov;60(6):S318-S325.

Proxy sources for information on nursing home residents' quality of life.

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  • 1University of Minnesota School of Public Health, 420 Delaware St. SE, D351 Mayo (MMC 197), Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.



This study explores how well staff and family proxies' reports on selected quality-of-life (QOL) domains (comfort, dignity, functional competence, privacy, meaningful activity, food enjoyment, relationships, security, and autonomy) correspond to residents' own reports.


We compared QOL domain scores for nursing home residents and 1,326 staff proxies and 989 family proxies at the individual and facility level using means, Pearson correlation statistics, and intraclass correlations. Regression models adjusted for residents' age, gender, length of stay, ability to perform activities of daily living, and cognition.


For each domain in more than half the cases, proxy means were within 1 SD of the resident means. Resident and family proxy individual reports for selected domains were correlated at 0.14 to 0.46 (all p <.000). Resident and staff proxy individual reports were correlated at 0.13 to 0.37 (all p <.000). Correlation of mean levels by facility for staff proxies was 0.26 to 0.64 (generally p <.05) and for family proxies 0.13 to 0.61 (p <.01 except for one domain).


Although staff and family proxy domain scores are significantly correlated with resident scores, the level of correlation suggests they cannot simply be substituted for resident reports of QOL. Determining how proxy reports can be used for residents who cannot be interviewed at all remains an unresolved challenge.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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