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Feasibility, understandability, and usefulness of the STEP self-rating questionnaire: results of a cross-sectional study

Authors Frese T, Hein S, Sandholzer H

Received 19 December 2012

Accepted for publication 14 January 2013

Published 6 May 2013 Volume 2013:8 Pages 515—521


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Thomas Frese, Susanne Hein, Hagen Sandholzer

Department of Primary Care of the Leipzig Medical School, Leipzig, Germany

Abstract: The study was designed to evaluate the acceptance of the self-rated version of the Standardized Assessment of Elderly People in primary care in Europe (STEP) by patients and general practitioners, as well as the feasibility, comprehensibility, and usefulness in gaining new information. In all, 1007 of 1540 patients aged 65 and above, from 28 different Saxon general practices took part. We recognized that 96% of the patients were able to fill in the questionnaire by themselves. It took them an average of approximately 20 minutes to do so. Further analysis of 257 randomly selected patients identified 281 previously unknown problems (1.1 per patient). In the practitioners’ opinion, 16% of these problems, particularly physiological and mental ones, could lead to immediate consequences. Remarkably, newly identified psychosocial problems were not followed by any consequences. Fourteen of the 75 questionnaire items were not answered by more than 9% of the participants. Eight of the 14 frequently unanswered items were marked as difficult to understand by the patients. Altogether the self-rating version of the STEP was found to be feasible and useful. It was well accepted among patients; however, some questions need further review to improve their comprehensibility. Furthermore, it should be investigated why some identified problems do not have consequences and whether there is a need to record these issues at all.

Keywords: general practice, primary care, geriatric assessment, health-related problems

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