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Age Ageing. 2014 Sep;43(5):596-603. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afu089. Epub 2014 Aug 3.

Quality-of-life measures for use within care homes: a systematic review of their measurement properties.

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Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK.
UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK.



the aims of this review were (i) to identify quality-of-life (QoL) measures which have had their measurement properties validated in people residing in care homes or nursing homes, and to critically compare and summarise these instruments and (ii) to make recommendations for measurement instruments.


bibliographic databases PsycINFO, PubMed, Cochrane, CINAHL and Embase were searched for articles evaluating measurement properties of QoL instruments in people residing in care homes. Methodological quality of studies was assessed using the consensus-based standards for the selection of health measurement instruments checklist. Measurement properties of instruments were appraised using a systematic checklist.


the search strategy resulted in 3252 unique citations, of which 15 articles were included in this review. These articles assessed 13 instruments, 8 of which were dementia or Alzheimer specific instruments. The QUALIDEM, a dementia-specific observational instrument, had the widest array of information available on its measurement properties, which were mostly satisfactory. Most measurement instruments lacked information on hypotheses testing and content validity. Information on responsiveness and measurement error was not available for any instrument.


for people with dementia living in care homes, the QUALIDEM is recommended for measuring QoL. For residents without dementia, we recommend Kane et al.'s Psychosocial Quality of Life Domains questionnaire. Studies of higher methodological quality, assessing a wider range of measurement properties are needed to allow a more fully informed choice of QoL instrument.


care home; older people; outcome; quality of life; questionnaire; systematic review

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