Assessing the Validity of the Long-Term Conditions Questionnaire (LTCQ) in Women During Pregnancy and the First Year Following Birth.
Kelly L., Fitzpatrick R., Kurinczuk JJ., Rivero-Arias O., Alderdice F.
Background: The aim of this study was to validate a generic patient-reported outcome measure, the Long-Term Conditions Questionnaire (LTCQ), among pregnant and postpartum women living with a pre-existing long-term condition (LTC). Methods: Cognitive interviews were conducted with women who were currently pregnant or had given birth within the past year and living with a pre-existing LTC (n=11) and with healthcare professionals working in maternal care (n=11) to explore the acceptability of LTCQ items. An online survey was subsequently administered among women who were pregnant or had given birth within the past year and living with a pre-existing LTC (n=718). Tests of validity were performed including assessing correlations between the LTCQ and reference measures, the Well-being in Pregnancy (WiP) Questionnaire and the EuroQol EQ-5D-5L. Internal consistency was assessed using the Cronbach's alpha statistic. Results: All LTCQ items were considered relevant and appropriate for use with women who were pregnant or had given birth within the past year. The most commonly reported LTC among the online survey sample (n=718) was a mental health condition (n=350, 48.7%) followed by joint, bone and connective tissues (n= 212, 29.5%) and gastrointestinal (n=143, 19.9%) condition. Data indicated LTCQ scores behaved in a predictable pattern, demonstrating poorer scores for women reporting a greater number of LTCs; mean (SD) scores, one LTC= 61.86 (17.8), two LTCs= 55.29 (16.0), three LTCs= 49.84 (15.52) and four LTCs= 44.94 (12.2). Poorer scores were also reported for women living with at least one mental health condition compared to those reporting no mental health condition, mean score = 66.18 (SD 16.7) v 48.64 (SD 13.3), p<0.001 respectively. As anticipated, LTCQ scores demonstrated significant correlations in the expected direction with both the EQ-5D-5L and WiP scores. For all LTCQ items, the Cronbach's alpha statistic was 0.93. Conclusion: Data presented here indicate that the LTCQ, which assesses living well with one or more LTC, is suitable for use among pregnant and postpartum women, from both the woman's perspective and from the perspectives of maternity healthcare professionals. Use of the LTCQ would facilitate the identification of unmet needs within this high-risk cohort and support the exploration of how LTCs may affect women throughout the pregnancy and post-natal period. Understanding unmet needs within this cohort of women provides an opportunity to link up specialist care within maternity services and enhance personalised care.