BACKGROUND: Currently available indicators of quality pediatric palliative care tend to focus on care provided during the end-of-life period rather than care provided throughout the disease trajectory. We adapted a previously developed instrument focused on mothers' perspectives on the quality of end-of-life care and assessed its psychometric properties with mothers and fathers of children with cancer at any stage of the illness.
METHODS: Four subscales were included in the analysis: Connect with Families, Involve Parents, Share Information Among Health Professionals, Support Siblings. The number of items across the four subscales was reduced from 31 to 15. We conducted confirmatory factor analysis, composite reliability, internal consistency, and tests of correlation between the overall scale and subscale totals and a separate question inquiring about overall quality of care. Measurement invariance between mothers and fathers was assessed.
RESULTS: A total of 533 mothers and fathers completed the survey. The four-factor model was confirmed and there were significant correlations between each subscale score and responses to the overall item on care quality. Cronbach's alpha was adequate for the scale as a whole and for each subscale ranging from 0.78 to 0.90. We also found the factor structure, means, and intercepts were similar across mothers and fathers, suggesting the tool can be used by both groups.
CONCLUSIONS: There is evidence for a four-factor structure within a new Quality of Children's Palliative Care Instrument (QCPCI) with demonstrated reliability when used with mothers and fathers of children with cancer. Ongoing assessment of the psychometric properties is needed, including testing in additional populations. However, our initial findings suggest that the QCPCI may be a helpful tool for assessing the quality of palliative care for pediatric patients anywhere along the disease trajectory from the perspective of parents.