Bone and Joint Institute

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes

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© 2020 The Author(s). Background: The shortened version of the Western Ontario Rotator Cuff Index (Short-WORC) is a patient reported outcome measure that evaluates quality of life (QoL) of patients with rotator cuff pathology. However, formal content validation of the full or Short-WORC has not been reported. This study aims to understand how 1) people interpret and calibrate responses to items on the Short-WORC and 2) compensatory strategies that might enhance function and thereby affect responses. Methods: This study uses cognitive interviewing, a qualitative methodology that focuses on the interpretation of questionnaire items. Patients with rotator cuff disorders (n = 10), clinicians (n = 6) and measurement researchers (n = 10) were interviewed using a talk aloud structured interview that evaluated each of the 7 items of the Short-WORC. All interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim by one researcher (R.F). Analysis was done through an open coding scheme using a previously established framework. Results: Overall, the items on the Short-WORC were well received by participants. Through the interviews, the 6 themes of: Comprehension, Inadequate response definition, Reference Point, Relevance, Perspective Modifiers and Calibration Across Items emerged. The items of working above the shoulder (90%), compensating with the unaffected arm (88%) and lifting heavy objects (92%) were the most relevant to participants. Participants calibrated their scores on the items of sleeping and styling (19%) the most. Perspective modifiers of gender, influenced the calibrations of items of styling your hair (30%) and dressing or undressing (19%). Compensatory strategies of task-re allocation and using assistive devices/resources were frequently mentioned by participants. Overall, participants had minor comprehension issues, but found the 7- items of the Short-WORC to be relevant to QoL. Conclusions: Therefore, the findings demonstrate that the Short-WORC is not cognitively complex, but varies with patient perspectives. Overall, the Short-WORC provides evidence of demonstrating strong content validity when used for rotator cuff disorder patients.