Development and testing of the ‘Culture of Care Barometer’ (CoCB) in healthcare organisations: a mixed methods study

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Objective Concerns about care quality have prompted calls to create workplace cultures conducive to high-quality, safe and compassionate care and to provide a supportive environment in which staff can operate effectively. How healthcare organisations assess their culture of care is an important first step in creating such cultures. This article reports on the development and validation of a tool, the Culture of Care Barometer, designed to assess perceptions of a caring culture among healthcare workers preliminary to culture change.

Design/setting/participants An exploratory mixed methods study designed to develop and test the validity of a tool to measure ‘culture of care’ through focus groups and questionnaires. Questionnaire development was facilitated through: a literature review, experts generating items of interest and focus group discussions with healthcare staff across specialities, roles and seniority within three types of public healthcare organisations in the UK. The tool was designed to be multiprofessional and pilot tested with a sample of 467 nurses and healthcare support workers in acute care and then validated with a sample of 1698 staff working across acute, mental health and community services in England. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify dimensions underlying the Barometer.

Results Psychometric testing resulted in the development of a 30-item questionnaire linked to four domains with retained items loading to four factors: organisational values (α=0.93, valid n=1568, M=3.7), team support (α=0.93, valid n=1557, M=3.2), relationships with colleagues (α=0.84, valid n=1617, M=4.0) and job constraints (α=0.70, valid n=1616, M=3.3).

Conclusions The study developed a valid and reliable instrument with which to gauge the different attributes of care culture perceived by healthcare staff with potential for organisational benchmarking.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere016677
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2017


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