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Palliat Med. 1999 Jul;13(4):285-98.

Feasibility of using postal questionnaires to examine carer satisfaction with palliative care: a methodological assessment. South Tyneside MAAG Palliative Care Study Group.

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  • 1Centre for Health Services Research, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


This paper reports on the methodological findings from a project which examined the feasibility of using a postal questionnaire to assess lay carer satisfaction with palliative care. The focus of this paper is the process of questionnaire development and its psychometric evaluation. The questionnaire was derived from an interview schedule used in previous national surveys of care for the dying, and was refined through qualitative work with recently bereaved lay carers. It was then tested in a postal survey of 355 lay carers identified from death registration certificates. Overall response rates were low, but significantly enhanced by the use of a single reminder sent 3 weeks after the initial mailshot. The analysis indicated that in the majority of cases the person targeted to receive the questionnaire was the most appropriate informant. Psychometric evaluation of the questionnaire against five criteria was encouraging, with low item nonresponse and ineligible response, and some evidence of discriminatory power, reliability, and face and content validity. Postal approaches appear to represent an acceptable means of assessing user satisfaction with palliative care, compared with more resource-intensive methods.

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