Measuring the outcomes of long-term care

Julien Forder, James Caiels (2011)

Social Science and Medicine 73 12 1766-1774

Available online: 10 October 2011

How should we measure the value of long-term (social) care? This paper describes a care related quality of life instrument (ASCOT) and considers aspects of its validity. In particular the aim is to assess whether ASCOT is better suited to measuring the impact of Long-term/social care services than the EQ5D health-related quality of life measure. Long-term care services tend to be more concerned with addressing the day-to-day consequences of long-term conditions. As such, a quality of life measure should not be overly focused on the potential impact of services on personal ability and should instead consider how services directly help people to function in everyday life. Construct validity was judged by assessing to degree to which measured quality of life improvement was consistent with the theorised positive correlation between quality of life and the use of home care services. In a 2008/9 sample of people using care services in England, we found that the impact of service use was significant when measured by ASCOT, but not significant when using EQ5D. The results support to our hypothesis that ASCOT has greater construct validity in this case.