Patient-caregiver functional unit scale: A new scale to assess the patient-caregiver dyad

Lisa Fredman, Mel P. Daly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: This study evaluated the reliability and validity of the Patient-Caregiver Functional Unit Scale (PCFUS), a new instrument to assess the stability or endurance of patient-caregiver dyads. Methods: Patient-caregiver dyads were recruited from a nursing home (NH) (n=38), a comprehensive geriatric assessment program (CGA) (n=20), and an ambulatory medical clinic (controls) (n=85). Caregivers were eligible if they assisted, or were available to assist, the patient with personal and instrumental activities of daily living, without pay. Data were collected by interviewer-administered questionnaires. Inter-rarer and test-retest reliability were evaluated among the CGA sample. Validity was assessed by comparing PCFUS scores among the NH, CGA, and control groups and by correlation of PCFUS scores with other standardized caregiver burden measures. Results: The PCFUS had excellent inter-rater and test-retest reliability. Mean PCFUS scores were significantly lower (ie, less stable patient-caregiver dyad) in NH than CGA and control caregivers. PCFUS scores were significantly associated with Burden Interview, Perceived Stress Scale, and Geriatric Depression Scale scores and risk factors for caregiver stress (eg, patient's cognitive impairment, disruptive behaviors). Conclusions: The PCFUS is a short, easily administered measure with good reliability and validity and is applicable to clinical and research settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-665
Number of pages8
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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