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Open Access Physical therapists' perceptions and use of standardized assessments of walking ability post-stroke

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Objectives: To determine physical therapists' perceptions and use of standardized assessments of walking ability post-stroke.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Methods: A questionnaire was posted to physical therapists in neurological practice registered in Ontario, Canada (n=1155). Of the 705 responders, 270 treated adults with stroke and completed the questionnaire.

Results: Assessment tools most frequently used with >6/10 patients were the Chedoke-McMaster Stroke Assessment (61.1%), Functional Independence Measure (45.2%), and gait speed test (32.2%). Only 11.1% consistently used the 6-minute walk test. The tools were used to evaluate (44.6%), monitor change over time (42.9%), form a prognosis (19.4%) or judge readiness for discharge (28.4%). Some therapists (40.1%) were unaware or unsure that valid and reliable measures of walking exist. As many as 80.5% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that clinical practice guidelines should recommend specific measures of walking ability for use post-stroke.

Conclusion: A moderate number of physical therapists consistently use standardized assessment tools to evaluate or monitor change in walking limitation post-stroke. Interventions to improve use must increase awareness, in addition to the perceived relevance and applicability, of recommended assessment tools.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine is the international peer-reviewed journal published in English, with at least 10 issues published per year.

    Original articles, reviews, case reports, short communications, special reports and letters to the editor are published, as also are editorials and book reviews. The journal strives to provide its readers with a variety of topics including: functional assessment and intervention studies, clinical studies in various patient groups, methodology in physical and rehabilitation medicine, epidemiological studies on disabling conditions and reports on vocational and sociomedical aspects of rehabilitation.

    The journal is read by a wide group of healthcare professionals including specialists in rehabilitation medicine, neurology, clinical neurophysiology, general medicine, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers.

    Contributions from all parts of the world and from different professions in rehabilitation are welcome.

    ISI Impact Factor 2009: 1.882.

    Owned by Foundation of Rehabilitation Information.

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