Evaluation of Measurement Properties of Supportive Environment Assessment Scales for Dementia Special Care Units: A COSMIN Systematic Review

Guanxiu Liu, Bei Wu, Shuyu Han, Chenyu Wang, Junwei Zhang, Lixiu Zhang, Lina Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To identify, critically appraise, compare, and summarize the measurement properties of existing instruments that assess the supportive environment of dementia special care units (DSCUs). Design: Systematic review of measurement properties consistent with Consensus-based standards for the selection of health measurement instruments (COSMIN) guidelines. Settings and Participants: PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, CINAHL, CNKI, Wanfang, VIP, and SinoMed were searched from inception to July 21, 2023. Studies that (1) measured the supportive environment for DSCUs using any type of assessment instrument and (2) evaluated 1 or more psychometric properties of a DSCU's supportive environment assessment instruments were included. Methods: Two reviewers independently screened, selected, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias. Results: Fourteen studies were identified that reported the psychometric properties of 8 assessment instruments. The Therapeutic Environment Screening Survey for Nursing Homes (TESS-NH) exhibited relatively better results on methodological risk of bias and quality of the psychometric properties. None of the instruments reported the evaluations on hypothesis testing, cross-cultural validity/measurement invariance, measurement error, or responsiveness. Based on the summary of 32 dimensions from 8 assessment instruments, this review established 7 functional constructs for the supportive environment for DSCUs: safety maintenance, space design, external resources, sensory stimulation, humanistic care, residual function development, and professional care. In addition, this study also initially developed a conceptual framework for the supportive environment of DSCUs. Conclusion and Implications: TESS-NH received the rating of “best methodological quality” and outperformed other weakly recommended scales. Further studies should pay attention to developing or revalidating scales for assessing the supportive environment of DSCUs in large multicenter samples following the COSMIN methodology. Furthermore, the conceptual framework for the DSCU supportive environment will provide a theoretical reference for facilitating their hierarchical establishment and governance within diverse long-term care facilities by state authorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1948-1958
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Dementia special care units
  • observer-reported outcome measures
  • psychometric properties
  • supportive environment
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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