Does Nonresponse Bias the Results of Retrospective Surveys of End-of-Life Care?
Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
(Impact Factor: 4.57).
11/2010; 58(12):2381-6. DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03175.x
To evaluate the effect of nonresponse bias on reports of the quality of end-of-life care that older adults receive.
Nationwide retrospective survey of end-of-life care.
Sixty-two Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.
Patients were eligible if they died in a participating facility. One family member per patient was selected from medical records and invited to participate.
The telephone survey included 14 items describing important aspects of the patient's care in the last month of life. Scores (0-100) reflect the percentage of items for which the family member reported that the patient received the best possible care, and a global item defined the proportion of families who said the patient received "excellent" care. To examine the effect of nonresponse bias, a model was created to predict the likelihood of response based on patient and family characteristics; then this model was used to apply weights that were equivalent to the inverse of the probability of response for that individual.
Interviews were completed with family members of 3,897 of 7,110 patients (55%). Once results were weighted to account for nonresponse bias, the change in mean individual scores was 2% of families reporting "excellent" care. Of the 62 facilities in the sample, the scores of only 19 facilities (31%) changed more than 1% in either direction, and only 10 (16%) changed more than 2%.
Although nonresponse bias is a theoretical concern, it does not appear to have a significant effect on the facility-level results of this retrospective family survey.
Available from: Massimo Costantini
- "This study differed from ISDOC in that though the preferred interview method was face to face, the option existed to perform a telephone interview if the caregiver was to refuse the first option. This, along with allowing interviewees the freedom to choose a location for the face to face interview potentially raises the feasibility of this type of assessment by allowing interviewees to take ownership over the process, and was developed to combat non-response bias, as explored by Cassarett et al. . "
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In 2009 two randomised cluster trials took place to assess the introduction of the Italian Version of the Liverpool Care Pathway in hospitals and hospices. Before and after data were gathered. The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of using a combination of assessment methods aimed at different proxy respondents to create a means of measuring quality of care at the end of life. We also aim to explore whether there are differences in response to this approach between the hospice and hospital inpatient settings.
A retrospective design was used. Eligible deaths were traced through death registries, and proxies were used to give information. Four procedures of assessment were used to measure different dimensions. Feasibility was assessed through compliance and adherence to the study instruments, and measured against standards derived from previous after-death studies. The proxy caregiver's rating of the study tools was also measured, to gauge feasibility and effectiveness. All consecutive cancer deaths that occurred in the study period were eligible. In both trials, deaths were excluded if the patient was a relative of hospital/hospice staff. 145 patients were recruited from the Hospital setting, and 127 from Hospice.
A high proportion of non-professional caregivers were interviewed - in both hospital (76.6%) and hospice (74.8%). There was no significant difference in the median number of days in each setting. 89.0% of hospital patients' GPs and 85.0% of hospice patients' GPs were interviewed. Care procedures were recorded in all hospice cases, and were missing in only 1 hospital case.52.7% of Hospital patients' relatives and 64.12% Hospice relatives were assessed to have been caused a low level of distress through the study.
The data shows high levels of compliance and adherence to the study instruments. This suggests that this approach to assessing quality of care is feasible, and this coupled with low levels of distress caused by the study instruments suggest effectiveness. There were no substantial differences between the hospice and hospital settings.
Available from: Thomas Volken
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Unit non-response occurs in sample surveys when a target subject does not respond to a survey. Potential implications are decreased power, increased standard error, and non-response bias. The objective of this study was to assess the factors associated with participation in a written survey (MSHS) of subjects who had previously participated in the Swiss Health Survey (SHS) and to evaluate to what extent non-participation could impact the estimation of various MSHS health outcomes.
Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the factors associated with MSHS participation (n=14,393) by eligible SHS participants (n=17,931). Crude participation rates and the adjusted odds ratios of participation (OR) were reported. In order to report potential bias in MSHS outcomes, the average age-standardized and sex-specific outcome values in non-participants were predicted based on several different linear regression models which had been previously fitted on MSHS participants.
Adjusting for all other variables, women (OR=1.63) as compared with men, subjects with a secondary (OR=1.48) or tertiary education (OR=1.76) as compared with those with primary education, white-collar workers (high level non-manual workers OR=1.29, medium and low level non-manual workers OR=1.26 and OR=1.25 respectively) as compared with unskilled manual workers, Swiss nationals (OR=1.60) as compared to non-Swiss, and subjects with very good or good self-rated health (OR=1.35) were more likely to participate in the MSHS. People who work full-time were less likely to participate than those without paid work (OR=0.76). There were no statistically significant differences in the likelihood of participation between rural and urban areas, different geographic regions of Switzerland and household income quartiles.
Except for myocardial infarction, all age-standardized and sex-specific average outcomes (influenza vaccination, arthrosis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, depression, mastery, and sense of coherence) were significantly different between MSHS non-participants and participants.
Subjects who participated in the MSHS had a higher socio-economic status, reported a better subjective health, and were more likely to be Swiss nationals. Small to moderate bias was found for most age-adjusted and sex-specific average outcomes. Consequently, these MSHS outcomes should be used and interpreted with care.
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Background: The quality of end-of-life (EOL) care at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC) has improved. To date, however, the quality and outcomes of end-of-life care delivered to women veterans have not been examined. Objective: The goal of this study was to evaluate gender differences in the quality of EOL care received by patients in VAMCs nationwide. Design: The study was conducted via retrospective medical chart review and telephone survey with next of kin of recently deceased inpatients. Setting/subjects: The chart review included records for all patients who died in acute and long-term care units in 145 VAMCs nationwide (n=36,618). For the survey, the documented next of kin were invited to respond on behalf of the deceased veteran; a total of 25,638 next of kin completed the survey. Measurements: Chart review measures included five indicators of optimal end-of-life care. Bereaved family survey items included one global and nine specific items (e.g., bereavement care, pain management) describing care in the last month of life. Results: Receipt of optimal end-of-life care did not differ significantly between women and men with respect to frequency of discussion of treatment goals with a family member, receipt of palliative consult, bereavement contact, and chaplain contact with a family member. Family members of women were more likely than those of men to report that the overall care provided to the veteran had been "excellent" (adjusted proportions: 63% versus 56%; odds ratio (OR)=1.33; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10-1.61; p=0.003). Conclusions: In this nationwide study of all inpatient deaths in VAMCs, women received comparable and on some metrics better quality EOL care than that received by male patients.
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