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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 43 Number 5, September/October 2006
Pages 809 — 816

Abstract - Timing and directions for administration of questionnaires affect outcomes measurement

Joan A. Stelmack, OD, MPH;1-3* Judith L. Babcock-Parziale, PhD;4 Daniel N. Head, EdD;4 Gregory S. Wolfe, OD;3 Nader E. Fakhoury, OD;5 Shelley M. Wu, OD;1 Robert W. Massof, PhD5

1Blind Rehabilitation Center, Edward Hines Jr. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital, Hines, IL; 2Illinois College of Optometry, Chicago, IL; 3Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Medicine, Chicago, IL; 4Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, Southwestern Blind Rehabilitation Center, Tucson, AZ; 5Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Abstract — We used data from two pilot studies to compare the change in patients' self-reported health-related quality of life after participation in two nearly identical Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Blind Rehabilitation Center (BRC) programs, the Southwestern BRC in Tucson, Arizona, and the BRC at the VA hospital in Hines, Illinois. Researchers at the Southwestern BRC administered the National Eye Institute Visual Functioning Questionnaire as directed by the developer. Researchers at the Hines BRC modified the directions to consider use of low-vision devices. Interval person-ability and item-difficulty measures estimated from patient responses pre- and postrehabilitation were compared with these same measures obtained at follow-up. At the Southwestern BRC, no change was reported in either person or item measures 3 months after rehabilitation. At the Hines BRC, improvement was seen in both the person and item measures when measurements were made immediately following rehabilitation. Because a temporary halo effect may explain the higher ratings at discharge, veterans from the Hines cohort were contacted by telephone and administered the same instrument 3 years later. For these subjects, the improvement noted in the person measure disappeared at follow-up, while the improvement in the item measure was maintained.
Key words: blind rehabilitation, health-related quality of life, low vision, low-vision rehabilitation, NEI VFQ-25, outcomes, outcomes measures, rehabilitation, vision rehabilitation, visual function.

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