Rivero E, Carrillo E, Portella E, Hernández I, Colom D. Evaluation of the design and reliability of a questionnaire to identify elderly individuals in need for social and health services. Med Clin (Barc). 1993 Dec;101(18):688-92.

BACKGROUND: To assess the construction of a short screening questionnaire designed for the detection of elderly people living in the community and in need of social and health care, and to test the reliability of the scores obtained on the scales of Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and mobility through its application.

METHODS: A short screening questionnaire of 11 items was designed to score elderly community dwellings on the scales of ADL and mobility of the International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps of the WHO (ICIDH). A random sample of 1,000 people aged 65 and over from the community of a geographical area of Catalonia (Spain) were interviewed in 1989, either by telephone or in-home personal interview, by non-professional trained interviewers on the basis of the mentioned schedule, and scored on the ICIDH ADL and Mobility scales. The design of the screening questionnaire was evaluated on the construction, content and wording through a 16 opinion statements questionnaire upon which 12 professionals, familiarized with questionnaire construction, expressed agreement or disagreement. To test reliability, each interviewer re-scored, one month apart, 20 subjects based on the information they had registered on the questionnaires, and following the same procedure, a gold standard observer re-scored all 1,000 interviews. In addition, a number of interviews were tape recorded, with previous consent of the subjects, and re-scored by 9 different observers. Interobserver and intraobserver reliability was measured with Cohen's weighted kappa coefficient.

RESULTS: The average time of questionnaire administration was approximately 10 +/- 5 min. Although the instrument was said to be a good tool for the interviewer to score the subjects on the scales, wording of some items of the questionnaire need to be reviewed. Both intraobserver and interobserver reliability were high: kappa coefficients of 0.79-0.97 and > 0.75 respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of a simple and reliable ADL and mobility questionnaire is a practical way to obtain information on the functional status of elderly people living at home, and to select elderly people for a further comprehensive assessment of their social and health care needs for planning the appropriate services in the community.

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