Patient transfer decision difficulty scale: Development and psychometric testing of emergency department visits by long-term care residents

Bor An Chen, Hui Hui Chien, Chun Chung Chen, Hui Tsai Chen, Chii Jeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objectives: Nurses serve as gatekeepers of the health of long-term care facility (LTCF) residents and are key members deciding whether residents should visit an emergency department (ED). Inappropriate decisions as to ED visits may result in ED overcrowding, excessive medical expenses, and nosocomial infections. Currently, there is a lack of effective tools for assessing the barriers and level of difficulty experienced by LTCF nurses. The purposes of this study were to develop a Patient Transfer Decision Difficulty Scale (PTDDS) and test its effectiveness. Methods: This study randomly sampled LTCFs in Taiwan and surveyed two or three nurses in every institution selected. Registered return envelopes were provided for participants to return self-completed questionnaires. Three steps were used to develop the scale and items: in step I, the instrument was developed; in step II, psychometric testing was conducted, which entailed performing an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to verify the construct validity and reliability of the developed items; and in step III, a confirmation study was conducted using a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modeling to cross-validate the factors and items. Results: The cumulative sum of variance explained by the measurement models of the three factors in the PTDDS was 63.54%.When deciding whether to transfer LTCF residents to EDs, the most pronounced barrier experienced by nurses were for judging the severity of “clinical episodes”, which had an explanatory power of 37.49%. The second and third pronounced barriers and decision difficulty experienced by nurses were “communication and information” and “timing of the residents' emergency visits,” which explained 16.81% and 9.24% of the variance, respectively. Conclusions: The cross-validation results obtained using the EFA and CFA showed favorable reliability and validity of the PTDDS. For future studies, this study recommends performing large-scale investigations of the level of decision difficulty and related factors experienced by nurses in LTCFs of varying levels and types.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0210946
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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