Background: Although family satisfaction is recognized as a critical indicator of quality for patients with advanced cancer, it is rarely assessed as part of routine clinical care. Measurement burden may be one barrier to widespread use of family satisfaction measures. Objective: The goal of this study was to test the ability of a new, brief 5-item measure of family satisfaction with care to accurately capture differences across hospital settings. Design: Using data from the Palliative Care for Cancer Patients study, a prospective study of 1979 patients and caregivers, we used multivariate regression analysis to detect significant differences across five sites. Settings: Hospitalized patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers Methods: We used both the shortened 5-item version of the FAMCARE scale (previously developed using Item Response Theory) and the original 20-item FAMCARE to measure family satisfaction. Results: On the 5-item FAMCARE, sites ranged from mean scores of 5.5-6.9 out of a possible high score of 10. Family members at one care site (n = 783) were significantly (p < 0.05) less satisfied with their care than family members at four other care sites. The original 20-item measure failed to differentiate satisfaction levels between all hospital sites. Discussion: Variability in family satisfaction with advanced cancer care across hospital settings can be more sensitively detected using a brief 5-item questionnaire versus longer measures. The development of less lengthy and burdensome measures for monitoring family satisfaction, which are still valid, can facilitate routine assessments to maintain and promote high-quality care across care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-721
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • cancer
  • caregiving
  • measurement
  • quality
  • satisfaction with care


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