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Open Access Research article

A reliability and validity study of the Palliative Performance Scale

Francis Ho1*, Francis Lau1, Michael G Downing2 and Mary Lesperance3

  • * Corresponding author: Francis Ho fho@uvic.ca

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 School of Health Information Science, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

2 Victoria Hospice Society, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

3 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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BMC Palliative Care 2008, 7:10  doi:10.1186/1472-684X-7-10

Published: 4 August 2008

Abstract

Background

The Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) was first introduced in1996 as a new tool for measurement of performance status in palliative care. PPS has been used in many countries and has been translated into other languages.

Methods

This study evaluated the reliability and validity of PPS. A web-based, case scenarios study with a test-retest format was used to determine reliability. Fifty-three participants were recruited and randomly divided into two groups, each evaluating 11 cases at two time points. The validity study was based on the content validation of 15 palliative care experts conducted over telephone interviews, with discussion on five themes: PPS as clinical assessment tool, the usefulness of PPS, PPS scores affecting decision making, the problems in using PPS, and the adequacy of PPS instruction.

Results

The intraclass correlation coefficients for absolute agreement were 0.959 and 0.964 for Group 1, at Time-1 and Time-2; 0.951 and 0.931 for Group 2, at Time-1 and Time-2 respectively. Results showed that the participants were consistent in their scoring over the two times, with a mean Cohen's kappa of 0.67 for Group 1 and 0.71 for Group 2. In the validity study, all experts agreed that PPS is a valuable clinical assessment tool in palliative care. Many of them have already incorporated PPS as part of their practice standard.

Conclusion

The results of the reliability study demonstrated that PPS is a reliable tool. The validity study found that most experts did not feel a need to further modify PPS and, only two experts requested that some performance status measures be defined more clearly. Areas of PPS use include prognostication, disease monitoring, care planning, hospital resource allocation, clinical teaching and research. PPS is also a good communication tool between palliative care workers.