Development of palliative care attitude and knowledge (PCAK) questionnaire for physicians in Kuwait

BMC Palliat Care. 2019 Jun 6;18(1):49. doi: 10.1186/s12904-019-0430-9.


Background: Over the past five decades, palliative care has changed from helping patients at the end of life into a highly dedicated service focused on delivering supportive care to patients with life-limiting illnesses throughout the disease trajectory. To date there is no common agreement on universally applicable measurement tool to know the areas of weakness in physicians' understanding of palliative care and identifying misconceptions about palliative care. This paper describes the development of a reliable and valid questionnaire to provide a measure of the attitude and knowledge of physicians toward palliative care (PCAK).

Methods: Item pool was generated paying particular attention to content and face validity. The initial version of the questionnaire was piloted and assessed based on psychometric criteria. Items which did not reach acceptable validity were excluded, and the final 37 item version was administered to two groups differing in their palliative care attitude and knowledge on two occasions to assess the construct validity and test-retest reliability. Two hundred thirty two physicians working in primary care clinics and general hospitals completed the questionnaire at the piloting stage. The final version (PCAK) was administered to 35 oncologists and 76 physicians. SPSS v20 was used for statistical analysis.

Results: Of the Pilot study, 20 items were excluded because didn't meet the criteria for item difficulty and discrimination. Item-to-total-score correlations (r) was ranging from 0.347 up to 0.806. Internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) was high ranging from 0.636 to 0.824. While testing the final PCAK, oncologist scored consistently higher than the other physicians on all sections of the questionnaire (P < 0.001) suggesting good construct validity. Test to retest reliability for each section was very high, ranging from 0.879 to 0.97 and the overall reliability was 0.95. The internal consistency reliability of each section was very good ranging from 0.681 ± 0.893.

Conclusion: The findings demonstrate that PCAK meets psychometric criteria for reliability and construct validity. It provides a useful scale to assess the attitude and knowledge of physicians about palliative care helping in planning of educational programs for physicians.

Keywords: Attitude; Knowledge; Kuwait; PCAK; Palliative care; Physicians.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Kuwait
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Physicians / psychology
  • Physicians / standards*
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Psychometrics / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires