Title. Validation of the Italian version of the Discomfort Scale – Dementia of Alzheimer Type.
Aim. This paper is a report of a study to validate the Discomfort Scale – Dementia of Alzheimer Type in Italian.
Background. Dementia is a long and highly debilitating illness with a slow course and a steadily rising prevalence. Improving the quality of life of patients with dementia requires instruments to measure their problems and symptoms, because they are unable to communicate and interact with others. In Italy, there are no validated scales to assess discomfort for this population. The Discomfort Scale – Dementia of Alzheimer Type was developed in the USA and has been further tested there as well as in Germany.
Methods. The data were collected by 21 nurses during 2006 in five nursing homes with 71 patients with severe dementia. Face and content validity were evaluated in a focus group. Discriminant validity was assessed with the opposite-group approach and internal consistency and inter-rater reliability were measured.
Results. The discriminant validity of the Italian Discomfort Scale – Dementia of Alzheimer Type showed its ability to detect patients with high and low levels of discomfort. Reliability testing gave positive results: the internal consistency level was satisfactory (0·814) and comparisons of overall discomfort scores across nurses show good reliability.
Conclusion. These findings support the use of Discomfort Scale – Dementia of Alzheimer Type in a clinical setting for people with severe dementia for both research and practice. Its ease of use and comprehensibility, and the limited time required to observe patients renders the Discomfort Scale – Dementia of Alzheimer Type a practical instrument for assessment and choosing care interventions.