COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT

General health status measures for people with cognitive impairment: learning disability and acquired brain injury

Background

This review aimed to identify the general health status measures that had been validated in patients with cognitive impairment, and to what extent they had been validated. Following this the aim was to draw out the implications of the findings for the use of existing measures and for future primary research in this area.

Findings

Very few measures have been validated specifically for cognitively impaired respondents. Studies where at least 50% of the respondents were cognitively impaired generally showed poorer validity results compared with studies with fewer cognitively impaired persons, indicating that general health status measures designed for the general population are not automatically suitable for people with cognitive impairment. The few measures that were specifically developed for people with cognitive impairment also reported poor validity results. Therefore, there are no validated instruments available for use in cognitively impaired respondents; existing measures, specifically designed for use in these populations, should be used with caution.

The most promising measure is the MS-Quality of Life Interview (MS-QLI) for MS patients. The MS-QLI was thoroughly validated in 300 MS patients and the results were good, except for the 'social function' subscale. However, only 20-50% of the respondents in this study had cognitive impairment.

Most information on the validity of general health status measures was found in studies among people with LD. For these patients, six measures were found that have been validated in populations where more than 50% of the respondents were cognitively impaired LD patients.

Conducted by: RP Riemsma1, CA Forbes1, JM Glanville1, AJ Eastwood1, J Kleijnen1

1. NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination

Further details

Project page on HTA Programme website target=blank

Publications

Riemsma RP, Forbes CA, Glanville JM, Eastwood AJ, Kleijnen J. General health status measures for people with cognitive impairment: learning disability and acquired brain injury. Health Technol Assess. 2001;5(6):1-100

Funding

Commissioned by the HTA Programme