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Patient-rated versus proxy-rated cognitive and functional measures in older adults

Authors Howland M, Allan KC, Carlton CE, Tatsuoka C, Smyth KA, Sajatovic M

Received 7 November 2016

Accepted for publication 9 February 2017

Published 15 March 2017 Volume 2017:8 Pages 33—42


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Liana Bruce (formerly Castel)

Molly Howland,1 Kevin C Allan,1 Caitlin E Carlton,1 Curtis Tatsuoka,2–4 Kathleen A Smyth,3 Martha Sajatovic1,2,4,5

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 2Neurological and Behavioral Outcomes Center, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, 3Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, 4Department of Neurology, 5Department of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH, USA

Patients with cognitive impairment may have difficulty reporting their functional and cognitive abilities, which are important clinical outcomes. Health care proxies may be able to corroborate patient self-reports. Several studies reported discrepancy between patient and proxy ratings, though the literature is sparse on changes over time of these ratings. Our goals in this 12-month study were to compare patient and proxy reports on functioning, cognition, and everyday executive function, and to further elucidate correlates of patient–proxy discrepancy.
Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of individuals older than 70 years who ranged from having no cognitive impairment to having moderate dementia who had a proxy available to complete instruments at baseline (N=76). Measurements included Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study–Activities of Daily Living Inventory (ADCS-ADLI), Neuro-QOL Executive Function, PROMIS Applied Cognition (PROMIS-Cog), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and Geriatric Depression Scale.
Results: Patient- and proxy-rated ADCS-ADLI were correlated at baseline and at 1-year follow-up. Patient and proxy ratings were discrepant on Neuro-QOL Executive Function and PROMIS-Cog. Greater patient–proxy discrepancy on PROMIS-Cog was associated with younger age and less depression, and greater patient–proxy discrepancy on Neuro-QOL Executive Function was associated with less depression and worse cognitive impairment. Patient–proxy discrepancy increased over time for everyday executive function. Changes in proxy-rated but not patient-rated ADCS-ADLI correlated with MMSE changes.
Conclusion: Patients and proxies generally agree in reporting on activities of daily living. Patient and proxy reports differ in their respective evaluation of cognitive functioning and everyday executive function. Ratings from both sources may be preferred for these two domains, though studies using gold standard measures are necessary. It is important that clinicians are aware of the differences between patient and proxy perspective to create an accurate clinical picture and guide treatment.

agreement, activities of daily living, dementia, executive function, caregiver

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