Objectives To review evidence relating to the measurement properties of older people specific self-assessed, multi-dimensional measures of health status.
Design Systematic literature searches to identify instruments. Pre-defined criteria relating to reliability, validity, responsiveness, precision and acceptability.
Results A total of 46 articles relating to 18 instruments met the inclusion criteria. Most evidence was found for the OARS Multidimensional Functional Assessment Questionnaire (OMFAQ), CARE, Functional Assessment Inventory (FAI) and Quality of Life Profile – Seniors Version (QOLPSV). Most instruments have been evaluated in single studies. Four instruments have evidence of internal consistency and test–retest reliability – LEIPAD, Philadelphia Geriatrics Centre Multilevel Assessment Inventory, Perceived Well-being Scale, Wellness Index (WI). Two instruments lack evidence of reliability – Brief Screening Questionnaire, Geriatric Quality of Life Questionnaire (GQLQ). Older people contributed to the content of the GQLQ, QOLPSV and WI. Most instruments were assessed for validity through comparisons with other instruments, global judgements of health, or clinical and socio-demographic variables. Limited evidence of responsiveness was found for five instruments – GQLQ, OMFAQ, PGCMAI, QOLPSV, Self-Evaluation of Life Scale (SELF).
Conclusion Although most evidence was found for the OMFAQ this was largely for the ADL domain; evidence for reliability and responsiveness is limited. Limited evidence of reliability, validity and responsiveness was found for the PGCMAI, QOLPSV and SELF. The lack of evidence for measurement properties restricts instrument recommendation. Instrument content should be assessed for relevance before application and the concurrent evaluation of specific and widely used generic instruments is recommended. Several instruments, including the BSQ and EASY-Care, were developed recently and further evidence of instrument performance is required.