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Phys Ther. 2013 Oct;93(10):1383-96. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20120492. Epub 2013 May 23.

Outcome measures for individuals with stroke: process and recommendations from the American Physical Therapy Association neurology section task force.

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J.E. Sullivan, PT, DHS, Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 645 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (USA).



The use of standardized outcome measures (OMs) can support clinicians' development of appropriate care plans, guide educators in curricular decisions, and enhance the methodological quality and generalizability of clinical trials. The purposes of this case report are: (1) to describe a framework and process for assessing psychometrics and clinical utility of OMs used poststroke; (2) to describe a consensus process used to develop recommendations for stroke-related OMs in clinical practice, research, and professional (entry-level) physical therapist education; (3) to present examples demonstrating how the recommendations have been utilized to date; and (4) to make suggestions for future efforts.


A task force of 7 physical therapists with diverse clinical and research expertise in stroke rehabilitation used a 3-stage, modified Delphi consensus process to develop recommendations on OM use. An evidence-based systematic review template and a 4-point rating scheme were used to make recommendations on OM use by care setting and patient acuity, for research, and for inclusion in professional education.


An initial list of 77 OMs was developed based on input from numerous professional sources. Screening measures and duplicate measures were eliminated. Fifty-six OMs received full review. Measures spanned the constructs of body structure/function (21), activity (28), and participation (14). Fourteen measures received a rating of "highly recommend."


Use of highly recommended OMs may provide a common set of tools enabling comparisons across patients, interventions, settings, and studies. The use of a clearly defined, comprehensive assessment template may facilitate the pooling of data on OMs and contribute to best practice guidelines. Educational recommendations may inform curricular decisions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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