Development of an Assessment to Examine Training of the Hospice Primary Caregiver

UMMS Affiliation

Commonwealth Medicine, Center for Health Policy and Research; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Medical Education | Palliative Care


BACKGROUND: Key to high-quality care of dying hospice patients at home is whether the hospice provides adequate training so the caregiver can safely care for the patient.

OBJECTIVE: The study objective was to develop and validate a survey of hospice training for caregivers to ensure safe, high-quality care in the home setting.

DESIGN: Our survey design was cross-sectional. Bereaved respondents of individuals who died at home under the care of hospice were surveyed three to six months postdeath.

MEASUREMENTS: Items were developed based on advice of an expert panel, focus groups of hospice caregivers, and literature review, with 12 items developed for testing and examining 8 key processes of care. We examined the validity and reliability of the assessment using factor analysis, correlational analyses, and multivariable modeling.

RESULTS: Our sample consisted of 262 primary caregivers (mean age 62.4, 76.7% female, 58.8% non-Hispanic white). Six questions focused on providing the caregiver with information, while another six focused on the training that hospice provided. Based on model fit and Cronbach's alpha, we dropped the information items. The items that examined hospice training demonstrated a one-factor solution and a Cronbach's of 0.90. We examined correlations of the multi-item composite with overall rating of quality of care (0.53), overall distress (0.31), and whether the respondent would recommend this hospice to others (0.49). There were no significant sociodemographic correlates of concerns with training.

CONCLUSIONS: Sufficient preliminary reliability and validity warrants further testing of this composite to examine the adequacy of training provided to family members to care safely for the patient.

DOI of Published Version



J Palliat Med. 2016 Jun;19(6):639-45. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2015.0185. Epub 2016 May 25. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of palliative medicine

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed