The feasibility of using the EQ-5D-3L with adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities within a randomized control trial: a qualitative evaluation
Russell, AM; O'Dwyer, J; Bryant, LD; et al.House, A; Birtwistle, J; Meer, S; Farrin, A; Wright-Hughes, A; Walwyn, R; Graham, L; Hulme, CT
Date: 29 October 2018
Pilot and Feasibility Studies
Background In trials incorporating a health economic evaluation component, reliable validated measures for health-related quality of life (HRQOL) are essential. The EQ-5D is the preferred measure for cost-effectiveness analysis in UK trials. This paper presents a qualitative evaluation of the use of the EQ-5D-3L in a feasibility ...
Background In trials incorporating a health economic evaluation component, reliable validated measures for health-related quality of life (HRQOL) are essential. The EQ-5D is the preferred measure for cost-effectiveness analysis in UK trials. This paper presents a qualitative evaluation of the use of the EQ-5D-3L in a feasibility randomised control trial with participants who had a mild- to moderate learning disability and type 2 diabetes. Methods Researchers administered the EQ-5D-3L to 82 participants at baseline and 77 at follow-up. After each interview, researchers rated the ease of administering the EQ-5D-3L and made free-text entries on the administration experience. For a subset of 16 interviews, researchers audio-recorded more detailed journal entries. Ease of administration data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Free-text responses were subject to a basic content analysis. The EQ-5D-3L-related journal entries were transcribed, coded and analysed thematically. Results Over half of participants were perceived to experience difficulty answering some or all of the items in the EQ-5D-3L (60% at baseline; 54% at follow-up). Analysis of the free-text entries and audio journals identified four themes that question the use of the EQ-5D-3L in this population. The first theme is related to observations of participant intellectual ability and difficulties, for example, in understanding the wording of the measure. Theme 2 is related to the normalisation of adjustments for impairments, which rendered the measure less sensitive in this population. Theme 3 is related to researcher adaptation and non-standard administration. An overarching fourth theme was identified in that people with learning disabilities were viewed as ‘unreliable witnesses’ by both researchers and supporters. Conclusions It is recommended that the EQ-5D-3L should not be used in isolation to assess health-related quality of life outcomes in trials research in adults with a learning disability. Further research is required to develop and evaluate a version of the EQ-5D appropriate for this population in trials research. It is unrealistic to expect that adjustments to the wording alone will deliver an appropriate measure: supporter or researcher involvement will almost always be required. This requirement needs to be factored into the development and administration guidelines of any new version of the EQ-5D for adults with a learning disability.
Institute of Health Research
College of Medicine and Health
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