The Research Powering the SCQ

Shane Sinclair

March 9, 2020

How we began.

The Sinclair Compassion Questionnaire (SCQ) is the world’s most valid and reliable patient reported compassion measure. The SCQ was developed by the Compassion Research Lab, an award-winning and nationally funded research team that is dedicated to improving patients, families and healthcare providers experiences of compassion from a scientific lens.

The problem, until now, is that healthcare providers, leaders and researchers did not have a valid and reliable measure of compassion to assess this central component of quality care—the SCQ has now addressed this gap.

After identifying significant limitations with existing measures, the birth of the SCQ began at the bedside — by investigating a previously absent and vitally important group in compassion research—the voice of patients. After generating the Patient Compassion Model we further fortified the conceptual foundation with the experiences and understandings of healthcare providers — producing the Healthcare Compassion Model. Knowing that existing measures and the field of compassion research frequently conflates compassion with sympathy, empathy and other forms of care we demarcated these constructs and identified patients’ preference for compassion.  

Further validation.

With these foundational construct validity studies in place, the development and validation of the SCQ occurred by first validating the Patient Compassion Model across diverse patient populations and by assessing the feasibility and utility of the proposed measure among healthcare leaders,providers, educators and researchers. This initial research directly informed the item generation phase of our study, which adhered to strict measure development guidelines producing a pool of candidate items that mapped directly onto each of the domains of the Patient Compassion Model.

Content validity was established thorough a Delphi study with International Subject Matter Experts and a Patient Advisory Group, followed by cognitive interviews with patients. Finally, 633 patients in acute care, long-term care, hospice and homecare were recruited over two study phases to validate the measure. Exploratory and confirmatory factory analysis revealed compassion as a single-factor construct with factor loadings of the final 15 item SCQ ranging from 0.76 to 0.86, with excellent test-retest reliability (Intraclass Correlation Coefficient range: 0.74-0.89) and excellent internal reliability (Cronbach’s α = 0.96).

Our Impact.

The end result--the SCQ is the most valid and reliable, clinically informed, patient-reported compassion measure. The implications are significant:

1) The SCQ provides a ‘gold standard’ research measure to advance compassion science

2) The SCQ provides healthcare providers, educators and systems leaders with the means to evaluate and improve compassion competency and service delivery

3) The SCQ and adapted versions of the SCQ allow for this key dimension of quality care to be routinely and rigorously assessed in an individualized manner, improve patients experiences of healthcare.

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