PURPOSE: To establish the validity and reliability of a questionnaire measuring the experience of informal carers of patients with stroke through acute and rehabilitation hospital treatment.
METHOD: The settings were 6 stroke units in the United Kingdom. Participants were relatives of patients with stroke. The Stroke Carer Experience Questionnaire (SCEQ) asks about specific elements of care and was constructed using qualitative analyses. Convergent and discriminant validity were assessed by correlations with other questionnaires and variables. Criterion validity was examined by correlations with indices derived from qualitative data. Temporal stability was assessed by correlation with a repeated administration. The performance of the questionnaire was compared with that of the Carer Hospital Satisfaction Questionnaire (Carer HospSat).
RESULTS: Seventy-two (49%) of 147 questionnaires were returned. Test-retest reliability, assessed by a questionnaire mailed 7 days after the first completion, was 0.77. The correlation with the Carer HospSat was 0.57, indicating convergent validity. The SCEQ did not correlate with demographic variables or functional ability, which indicated discriminant validity. Significant correlations with indices derived from carers' qualitative descriptions evidenced criterion validity. The SCEQ detected specific negative experiences among carers with high global satisfaction scores on the Carer HospSat. In general, the SCEQ items were not strongly intercorrelated; only 6% of the intercorrelations were strong to moderate (30.6).
CONCLUSIONS: The SCEQ is preferable to existing questionnaires for carers of patients with stroke, because it has established validity and reliability and assesses service characteristics important to carers. It also identifies experiences in services that elude global satisfaction ratings. It is a promising instrument for identifying service strengths and unmet needs.