Background Older adults may find it problematic to attend hospital appointments due to the difficulty associated with travelling to, within and from a hospital facility for the purpose of a face-to-face assessment. This study aims to investigate equivalence between telephone and face-to-face administration for the Frenchay Activities Index (FAI) and the Euroqol-5D (EQ-5D) generic health-related quality of life instrument amongst an older adult population. Methods Patients aged >65 (n = 53) who had been discharged to the community following an acute hospital admission underwent telephone administration of the FAI and EQ-5D instruments seven days prior to attending a hospital outpatient appointment where they completed a face-to-face administration of these instruments. Results Overall, 40 subjects' datasets were complete for both assessments and included in analysis. The FAI items had high levels of agreement between the two modes of administration (item kappa's ranged 0.73 to 1.00) as did the EQ-5D (item kappa's ranged 0.67–0.83). For the FAI, EQ-5D VAS and EQ-5D utility score, intraclass correlation coefficients were 0.94, 0.58 and 0.82 respectively with paired t-tests indicating no significant systematic difference (p = 0.100, p = 0.690 and p = 0.290 respectively). Conclusion Telephone administration of the FAI and EQ-5D instruments provides comparable results to face-to-face administration amongst older adults deemed to have cognitive functioning intact at a basic level, indicating that this is a suitable alternate approach for collection of this information
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