Informal Care Can Be Better Than Adequate: Development and Evaluation of the Exemplary Care Scale

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PurposeTo evaluate a new measure assessing excellent, or exemplary, informal care—an aspect of caregiving that has received little attention. The Exemplary Care Scale (ECS) was developed on the basis of insights from previous research with items generated by the authors in consultation with a multidisciplinary research team.Design310 informal caregivers and 283 of their elderly care recipients completed the ECS and other measures pertaining to quality of care and its presumed correlates.ResultsFactor analyses indicated that the ECS consists of 2 factors reflecting provision of exceptional care (Provide) and respect for care recipient autonomy, wishes, and the like (Respect). The ECS factor structure was equivalent among caregivers and care recipients. Both factors were empirically distinct from existing measures of poor quality and adequate care. Each ECS factor was associated with other care-related constructs in predictable ways, implying construct validity.ConclusionsThe ECS, in conjunction with existing measures, provides a more comprehensive assessment of the quality-of-care continuum and should prove useful to researchers and practitioners interested in quality of informal care provided to chronically ill or disabled people.

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