BACKGROUND: The Older Persons and Informal Caregivers Survey Minimal Dataset's (TOPICS-MDS) questionnaire which measures relevant outcomes for elderly people was successfully incorporated into over 60 research projects of the Dutch National Care for the Elderly Programme. A composite endpoint (CEP) for this instrument would be helpful to compare effectiveness of the various intervention projects. Therefore, our aim is to establish a CEP for the TOPICS-MDS questionnaire, based on the preferences of elderly persons and informal caregivers.
METHODS: A vignette study was conducted with 200 persons (124 elderly and 76 informal caregivers) as raters. The vignettes described eight TOPICS-MDS outcomes of older persons (morbidity, functional limitations, emotional well-being, pain experience, cognitive functioning, social functioning, self-perceived health and self-perceived quality of life) and the raters assessed the general well-being (GWB) of these vignette cases on a numeric rating scale (0-10). Mixed linear regression analyses were used to derive the preference weights of the TOPICS-MDS outcomes (dependent variable: GWB scores; fixed factors: the eight outcomes; unstandardized coefficients: preference weights).
RESULTS: The mixed regression model that combined the eight outcomes showed that the weights varied from 0.01 for social functioning to 0.16 for self-perceived health. A model that included "informal caregiver" showed that the interactions between this variable and each of the eight outcomes were not significant (p > 0.05).
CONCLUSION: A preference-weighted CEP for TOPICS-MDS questionnaire was established based on the preferences of older persons and informal caregivers. With this CEP optimal comparing the effectiveness of interventions in older persons can be realized.