Objective: To develop and pilot test the Home and Community Environment instrument (HACE), a self-report measure designed to characterize factors in a person's home and community environment that may influence level of participation.
Design: A cross-sectional survey.
Subjects: Sixty-two adults recruited from community organizations and an outpatient rehabilitation center.
Methods: Six environmental domains were assessed: (i) home mobility; (ii) community mobility; (iii) basic mobility devices; (iv) communication devices; (v) transportation factors; and (vi) attitudes. Descriptive statistics, Kappa statistics and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to ascertain whether persons were capable of assessing characteristics of their environment, could do so reliably and whether the distribution of environmental factors differed by type of living situation.
Results: Participants were capable of characterizing their home environment and most aspects of their community with acceptable reliability. The median percent agreement of the 6 environmental domains ranged from 75% to 100% (median Kappa values ranged from 0.47 to 1.0). Percent agreement for individual HACE items ranged from 58% to 100%. The lowest reliability values were observed in the community mobility domain. As hypothesized, individuals who lived in private homes characterized home and community mobility factors differently from those who lived in multi-unit complexes; evidence of HACE's validity.
Conclusion: HACE is a promising self-report instrument for assessing characteristics of an individual's home and community environments. Additional research is needed to assess its utility for rehabilitation research.