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Jenny Marwitz, MA, Viginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia at

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Marwitz, J. (2000). The Family Needs Questionnaire. The Center for Outcome Measurement in Brain Injury.
combi/fnq ( accessed ).





FNQ Background

The Family Needs Questionnaire has been used routinely by the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service at the Virginia Commonwealth University's Medical College of Virginia, since 1989. The questionnaire has been used by American researchers and in other countries including Canada, Italy, Sweden, and Australia. A recent study was done in the United Kingdom (Moules and Chandler, 1999) comparing caregivers' responses to the FNQ and their perceived quality of life. Several studies, now underway, are comparing the responses of spinal cord and brain injury populations.

Clinicians working with families of persons having neurological disabilities sought to develop a questionnaire which had both clinical and research value. Items were selected for inclusion based on a review of the literature on family reactions to brain injury and other disabilities. Many items were adapted from research questionnaires and structured interviews (Mauss-Clum & Ryan, 1981; Mathis, 1984; Molter, 1979; Campbell, 1988; Leske, 1986; Norris & Grove, 1986). A number of items were developed and included based on needs frequently expressed during clinical interviews with family members. The final version was intended for inpatients or outpatients, and respondents with a sixth grade reading level or greater. Average completion time is 10-15 minutes.

The FNQ includes 40 items representing diverse needs that may appear during acute rehabilitation and post-discharge. Scores for six factor analytically derived scales can be calculated: Health Information, Emotional Support, Instrumental Support, Professional Support, Community Support Network, and Involvement with Care. Family members are asked to make two independent ratings. First, an indication of the importance of each perceived need is rated on a four-point scale ranging from "not important" to "very important." Second, the family member rates the extent to which each need has been met.

The FNQ can be used to develop individualized educational and therapy programs tailored to family members' stated needs. Furthermore, completion of the questionnaire prior to and following intervention helps provide an index of intervention effectiveness. This process also provides a mechanism for closely following changes in the dynamic process of rehabilitation and community integration.

Campbell, C. (1988). Needs of relatives and helpfulness of support groups in severe head injury. Rehabilitation Nursing, 13, 320-325.

Leske, J. (1986). Needs of relatives of critically ill patients: A follow-up. Heart and Lung, 15, 189-193.

Mathis, M. (1984). Personal needs of families of critically ill patients with and without brain injury. Journal of Neurosurgery Nursing, 16, 36-44.

Mauss-Clum, N., & Ryan, M. (1981). Brain injury and the family. Journal of Neurosurgical Nursing, 13, 165-169.

Molter, N. (1979). Needs of relatives of critically patients: A descriptive study. Heart and Lung, 8, 332-339.

Moules, S. & Chandler, B. (1999). A study of the health and social needs of carers of traumatically brain injured individuals served by one community rehabilitation team. Brain Injury, 13, 983-993.

Norris, L. & Grove, S. (1986). Investigation of selected psychological needs of family members of critically ill patients. Heart and Lung, 15, 194-199. 


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