Validation of Toolkit After-Death Bereaved Family Member Interview

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2001 Sep;22(3):752-8. doi: 10.1016/s0885-3924(01)00331-1.


The purpose of this study was to examine the reliability and validity of the Toolkit After-Death Bereaved Family Member Interview to measure quality of care at the end of life from the unique perspective of family members. The survey included proposed problem scores (a count of the opportunity to improve the quality of care) and scales. Data were collected through a retrospective telephone survey with a family member who was interviewed between 3 and 6 months after the death of the patient. The setting was an outpatient hospice service, a consortium of nursing homes, and a hospital in New England. One hundred fifty-six family members from across these settings participated. The 8 proposed domains of care, as represented by problem scores or scales, were based on a conceptual model of patient-focused, family-centered medical care. The survey design emphasized face validity in order to provide actionable information to health care providers. A correlational and factor analysis was undertaken of the 8 proposed problem scores or scales. Cronbach's alpha scores varied from 0.58 to 0.87, with two problem scores (each of which had only 3 survey items) having a low alpha of 0.58. The mean item-to-total correlations for the other problem scores varied from 0.36 to 0.69, and the mean item-to-item correlations were between 0.32 and 0.70. The proposed problem scores or scales, with the exception of closure and advance care planning, demonstrated a moderate correlation (i.e., from 0.44 to 0.52) with the overall rating of satisfaction (as measured by a five-point, "excellent" to "poor" scale). Family members of persons who died with hospice service reported fewer problems in each of the six domains of medical care, gave a higher rating of the quality of care, and reported higher self-efficacy in caring for their loved ones. These results indicate that 7 of the 8 proposed problem scores or scales demonstrated psychometric properties that warrant further testing. The domain of closure demonstrated a poor correlation with overall satisfaction and requires further work. This survey could provide information to help guide quality improvement efforts to enhance the care of the dying.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bereavement*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Terminal Care