OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research project was to evaluate the validity of proxy health-related quality of life measures in the context of paediatric mobility impairment. Accurate health-related quality of life data is essential for quality-adjusted life year calculation; a key outcome in economic evaluation. Thirteen child-parent dyads (13 children with mobility impairments, 13 parent proxies) were asked to complete a range of outcome measures (EQ-5D-Y, VAS and HUI2/3) relating to the child's health. The relationship between respondent outcomes was examined using tests of respondent type effect (Wilcoxon signed-rank), correlation (Spearman's rank-order) and agreement (Bland-Altman plots).
RESULTS: Parent proxies significantly undervalued the health-related quality of life of their mobility-impaired children: children rated their health-related quality of life higher than their parents by proxy on all measures. The VAS had the highest overall mean score for children and proxies (79.50 [SD = 15.01] and 75.77 [SD = 14.70] respectively). Child and proxy results were significantly different (p < 0.05) for all measures besides the VAS (p = 0.138). Strong correlation and acceptable agreement were observed for equivalent child/proxy VAS and HUI measures. The EQ-5D-Y exhibited the least agreement between children and proxies. Sufficient association between child/proxy VAS and HUI measures indicated a degree of interchangeability.