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Int J Stroke. 2012 Feb;7(2):118-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-4949.2011.00694.x. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

Clinical utility of the AlphaFIM® instrument in stroke rehabilitation.

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Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



The AlphaFIM instrument is an assessment tool designed to facilitate discharge planning of stroke patients from acute care, by extrapolating overall functional status from performance in six key Functional Independence Measure (FIM) instrument items.


To determine whether acute care AlphaFIM rating is correlated to stroke rehabilitation outcomes.


In this prospective observational study, data were analyzed from 891 patients referred for inpatient stroke rehabilitation through an Internet-based referral system. Simple linear and stepwise regression models determined correlations between rehabilitation-ready AlphaFIM rating and rehabilitation outcomes (admission and discharge FIM ratings, FIM gain, FIM efficiency, and length of stay). Covariates including demographic data, stroke characteristics, medical history, cognitive deficits, and activity tolerance were included in the stepwise regressions.


The AlphaFIM instrument was significant in predicting admission and discharge FIM ratings at rehabilitation (adjusted R² 0.40 and 0.28, respectively; P < 0.0001) and was weakly correlated with FIM gain and length of stay (adjusted R² 0.04 and 0.09, respectively; P < 0.0001), but not FIM efficiency. AlphaFIM rating was inversely related to FIM gain. Age, bowel incontinence, left hemiparesis, and previous infarcts were negative predictors of discharge FIM rating on stepwise regression. Intact executive function and physical activity tolerance of 30 to 60 mins were predictors of FIM gain.


The AlphaFIM instrument is a valuable tool for triaging stroke patients from acute care to rehabilitation and predicts functional status at discharge from rehabilitation. Patients with low AlphaFIM ratings have the potential to make significant functional gains and should not be denied admission to inpatient rehabilitation programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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