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Research project: The IMPROVE study: VOICES redesign and testing project to inform the development of a national survey - Dormant

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The 2008 End of Life Strategy committed the Department of Health in England to piloting, and rolling out, a survey of bereaved relatives, which builds on the VOICEs questionnaire, initially developed in 1995 by Professor Addington-Hall. The VOICEs survey will provide a mechanism for assessing the quality of care provided to people at the end of life, and their carers, which is in line.

This project forms the pilot study, in which the VOICES questionnaire will be adapted specifically for use as a measure of the quality of end of life care, focusing specifically on key areas in the End of Life Care Strategy; methods of using the questionnaire in a national survey will be tested; ways of encouraging participation from black and ethnic minority groups will be explored, and guidance on use by local commissioners and service providers produced.

VOICES is a postal questionnaire initially developed by Professor Addington-Hall in 1995, given to bereaved relatives/friends, about experiences in the last months of life, focusing on quality of care and services received, The VOICES questionnaire has been used in at least 13 surveys with over 4000 respondents. The first phase of this pilot study involved a significant reduction in length of VOICES following feedback from palliative care user groups, specialist palliative care practitioners and DH Steering Group, and analysis of existing datasets, thus creating VOICES-Short Form (SF).

The principal objective of the next phase is to investigate the effect of recruitment approach on response rate via a randomized controlled trial with respondents randomised to either an ‘opt in’ or ‘single posting’ recruitment method. The pilot will also investigate mixed-mode data collection using both postal and online response, allowing assessment of the quality of responses between data collection modes. Use of innovative recruitment methods will be tested to investigate their impact in facilitating participation amongst Black and ethnic minority groups. The findings will be used to make recommendations on the design of a national VOICES survey, to report on appropriate methods to ensure effective engage with minority groups, and to produce guidance for local commissioning and service provider organizations on how they might make use of VOICES in local surveys.

Project team

Addington-Hall J,  Hunt K,  Ka-Ying Hui, Shlomo N

Project funder

Department of Health

Associated research themes

Palliative care
Survey research
Need assessment
Quality improvement

Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes

Key Publication

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