The Views of Informal Carers Experiences of Services (VOICES) instrument is a postal questionnaire that has been utilized internationally to capture the experiences of end-of-life care during the last months of life. Aotearoa/New Zealand, traditionally a bicultural society, reflects both the European worldview and that of the indigenous Māori. The Māori collectivist worldview considers whānau (extended family) support as key at the end of life and privileges “kanohi ki te kanohi” (face-to-face) meetings. In such a context, how will VOICES be received? Our pilot study was designed to test the effectiveness of an adaptation of the VOICES questionnaire in the New Zealand social setting for both Māori and non-Māori.
Cognitive interviews were conducted with 20 bereaved whānau and family members whose relative died between January 1 and April 4, 2014, in one urban New Zealand hospital. Thematic analysis was conducted on the resulting transcripts.
We found that, although the questionnaire provides valuable information, administration of the current questionnaire within a bicultural context is problematic. These problems are related to its scope, cultural acceptability, structure, and content. Distribution of the VOICES questionnaire, either through the post or online, without prior consultation, also risks engaging Māori in a culturally inappropriate manner.
These findings will prompt revisions to both the content and research approach to implementing VOICES in a bicultural context. Recommendations include prior consultation with local indigenous communities as well as utilization of a mixed-methods approach to utilizing VOICES in a bicultural context. The cognitive interview procedures employed (adjusted for a collectivist worldview) in this study may also prove useful to indigenous groups seeking to develop or adapt questionnaires within a bicultural or multicultural context.