Identifying patients in need of palliative care: Adaptation of the Necesidades Paliativas CCOMS-ICO© (NECPAL) screening tool for use in Israel

Galia Fisher, Efrat Shadmi, Tammy Porat-Packer, Anna Zisberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: The Necesidades Paliativas CCOMS-ICO© (NECPAL) screening tool was developed to identify patients in need of palliative care and has been used in Israel without formal translation, reliability testing, or validation. Because cultural norms significantly affect subscales such as social vulnerability and health-care delivery, research is needed to comprehensively assess the NECPAL's components, adapt it, and validate it for an Israeli health-care setting. This study linguistically and culturally translated the NECPAL into Hebrew to examine cultural and contextual acceptability for use in the Israeli geriatric health sector. The newly adapted tool was measured for itemized and scale-level content validity, inter-rater reliability (IRR), and construct validity.

METHODS: The NECPAL was back-translated and its content validated by a 5-member expert panel for clarity and relevance, forming the Israeli-NECPAL (I-NECPAL). Six health-care professionals used the I-NECPAL with 25 post-acute geriatric patients to measure IRR. For construct validity, the known-groups method was used, as there is no "gold standard" method for identifying palliative needs for comparison with the NECPAL. The known groups were 2 fictitious cases, predetermined of palliative need. Thirty health-care professionals, blinded to the predetermined palliative status, used the I-NECPAL to determine whether a patient needs a palliative-centered plan of care.

RESULTS: The findings point to acceptable content and construct validity as well as IRR of the I-NECPAL for potential inclusion as a tool for identifying geriatric patients in need of palliative care. Content-validity assessment brought linguistic changes and the exclusion of the frailty parameter from the annex of chronic diseases. The kappa-adjusted scale-level content-validity index indicated a high level of content validity (0.96). IRR indicated a high level of agreement (all parameters with an "excellent-good" agreement level). The sensitivity (0.93), specificity (0.17), positive predictive value (0.53), and negative predictive value (0.71) revealed how heavily the scale weighed upon the surprise question. These metrics are improved when removing the surprise question from the instrument.

SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Similar to other countries, the Israeli health-care system is regulated by policies that portray the local beliefs and culture as well as evidence-based practice. The decision about when to switch a patient to a palliative-centered plan of care is one such example. It is thus of utmost importance that only locally adapted and vigorously tested screening tools be offered to health-care providers to assist in this decision. The I-NECPAL is the first psychometrically tested palliative needs identification tool for use in the geriatric population in Israel, on both a scale and an itemized level. The results indicate that it can immediately replace the current unvalidated version in use. Further research is needed to determine whether all parts of the scale are relevant for this patient population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalPalliative and Supportive Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • Aged
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Palliative Care/methods
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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