BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Some patients perceive the experience of hospitalization in an epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) to be an uncomfortable one. In order to provide comfort-enhancing measures, nurses need to assess comfort levels. For this purpose, Kolcaba developed the General Comfort Questionnaire (GCQ), which may be modified for usage in specific settings. The objective of this study was to develop an instrument to assess comfort of adult patients during hospitalization in an EMU, namely the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit Comfort Questionnaire (EMUCQ).
METHODS: The GCQ was translated from American English into German following the guidelines of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcome Research (ISPOR). Three native German speakers with good command of the English language did forward translations. An expert who grew up bilingual did a backtranslation. For use in an EMU, literature-based setting-specific items were added. In a qualitative-descriptive study, cognitive debriefing with 25 patients was conducted using cognitive interviews. Qualitative data analysis was based on the framework method. In a quantitative-descriptive study, nine clinical experts assessed content validity.
RESULTS: For setting-specific modification, 12 items pertaining to surroundings, feeling observed, and feeling afraid of a seizure were added to the translated GCQ. Based on the initial content validity rating, 26 items remained unchanged, 12 items underwent revisions, and 14 items were omitted. Eight items were put aside for a follow-up rating in the context of cognitive debriefing. Cognitive interviewing revealed problems regarding the interpretation of items and missing items. According to the results, 27 items remained unchanged, 11 items were reworded, and six items were added. The final content validity rating showed item-content validity indices (I-CVI) between .33 and 1, and an average CVI on a scale level (S-CVI/ave) of .84.
CONCLUSIONS: Enhancing comfort is a fundamental nursing goal in demanding situations. Therefore, the contribution of nurses to the quality of individualized patient care is a substantial one. The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit Comfort Questionnaire is a valuable tool to support the assessment of comfort levels. The International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcome Research guidelines proved to be useful to ensure high quality of the translated instrument. Using cognitive interviews enhanced the understandability of items and supported modification of the General Comfort Questionnaire. At present, S-CVI/ave value of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit Comfort Questionnaire is acceptable. Further testing is necessary.