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J Clin Epidemiol. 2000 Sep;53(9):908-19.

Measuring quality of sedation in adult mechanically ventilated critically ill patients. the Vancouver Interaction and Calmness Scale. Sedation Focus Group.

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Clinical Service Unit: Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vancouver General Hospital, 855 W 12th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5Z 1M9.


There are no reliable, valid, and responsive scales to measure the quality of sedation in adult critically ill patients. Our objective was to develop a summated rating scale with these properties and to define the minimal clinically important difference (MCID). We developed and tested the scale in an 18-bed medical-surgical intensive care unit (ICU) (12-bed acute and 6-bed subacute unit). Following identification of relevant domains and item derivation, 116 observations were made on 38 patients; psychometric properties and interrater reliability were assessed to allow item reduction. The final scale consisted of two five-item subscales quantifying calmness and interaction along a continuum from 5 to 30 points. Interrater reliability was 0.89 and 0.90; internal consistency was 0. 95 for both subscales. To test construct validity, MCID, and responsiveness 302 observations were made on 54 patients. Construct validity: calmness score vs. need for further intervention to make the patient calm (R = -0.82, P < 0.001); interaction score discriminated between acute vs. subacute units, mean scores 15.28 +/- 8.26 vs. 23.54 +/- 7.42, mean difference 8.27 (95% CI - 10.32 to -6.22); MCID - 2.2 and 2.5 for the calmness and interaction subscales; Guyatt's responsiveness statistics - 1.4 and 2.3. The Vancouver Interaction and Calmness Scale (VICS) is reliable, valid, and responsive.

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