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Intensive Care Med. 2011 Feb;37(2):310-8. doi: 10.1007/s00134-010-2042-y. Epub 2010 Sep 17.

Construction and psychometric testing of the EMPATHIC questionnaire measuring parent satisfaction in the pediatric intensive care unit.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Intensive Care, Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus MC, Sophia Children's Hospital, Room Sp-1539, P.O. Box 2060, 3000 CB Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



To construct and test the reliability and validity of the EMpowerment of PArents in THe Intensive Care (EMPATHIC) questionnaire measuring parent satisfaction in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).


Structured development and psychometric testing of a parent satisfaction-with-care instrument with the results of two cohorts of parents (n = 2,046) from eight PICUs in the Netherlands.


In the first cohort, 667/1,055 (63%) parents participated followed by 551/991 (56%) parents in the second cohort. The empirical structure of the instrument was established by confirmatory factor analysis with the first sample of parents confirming 65 statements within five theoretically conceptualized domains: information, care and cure, organization, parental participation, and professional attitude. The standardized factor loadings were greater than 0.40 in 63 statements. Cronbach's α, a measure of reliability, per domain ranged from 0.73 to 0.93 in both cohorts with no significant difference documenting the reliability over time. Beside rigorous content and face validity, the congruent validity of the instrument showed adequate correlation with four gold standard questions measuring overall satisfaction. The non-differential validity was confirmed with no significant differences between the population characteristics and the domains, except that parents with a child for a surgical admission were more satisfied on information issues.


The final EMPATHIC questionnaire incorporates 65 statements. The empirical structure of the satisfaction statements and domains was satisfactory. The reliability and validity proved to be adequate. The EMPATHIC questionnaire is a valid quality performance indicator to measure quality of care as perceived by parents.

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