PURPOSE: Despite international policies to support the health and wellbeing of informal (family) caregivers, there is no consensus on how to evaluate the effectiveness of carer support. We aimed to develop and validate a new quality-of-life measure for carers (LTCQ-Carer) and to assess its potential for use within a clinical pathway. METHODS: Psychometric properties of LTCQ-Carer were tested through cognitive interviews (qualitative phase) and a pilot survey (quantitative phase). Participants were family caregivers of people recently diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia, recruited through one of 14 memory clinics in south-east England. They self-completed the new measure and comparative existing measures (EQ-5D, ASCOT-Carer). Ongoing feedback from memory clinic staff on potential use of LTCQ-Carer was collected. RESULTS: Interview participants (n = 10) found all draft items of LTCQ-Carer relevant and prompted inclusion of a new item on 'time to yourself'. Responses from survey participants (n = 107) indicated acceptability (low missing data), high internal reliability (Cronbach's α = 0.95), and a general construct (single factor loadings 0.43-0.86 for all items). Observation of predicted associations with EQ-5D and ASCOT-Carer supported construct validity. Responsiveness requires further testing as evidence was inconclusive. Clinical staff feedback on potential use was positive. CONCLUSION: LTCQ-Carer is a valid new measure for assessing family caregivers' quality of life across broad health and social care domains, expanding the range of high-quality tools for evaluating carer support. When used concurrently with patient assessment, it could highlight carer needs and prompt appropriate family support at the earliest point in the clinical pathway.
Qual Life Res
Carer-reported outcome measure, Dementia, Family caregiver, Informal carer, Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Quality-of-life scale