6 Core Measures to Streamline Neurological Assessments

Do you find it challenging to determine which outcome measure is best to use for your patients with neurologic conditions?

Does your facility have consistent measures used between therapists and/or settings?

Good news—thanks to the Core Outcomes Measures CPG Work Group lead by Jenni Moore, the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy has just made these decisions simpler by developing clinical practice guidelines to streamline assessments and provide you with the support you need. You now have easy access to the measures below along with quick reference sheets.

In their efforts to quantify function for people with neurological diagnoses, they have made recommendations for six core measures that can be used in all settings.1 The major functional areas addressed include transfers, walking speed/endurance, and balance.

The Crucial First Step

Remember, before choosing your tool, you must first identify your measurement goal. For instance, if you are choosing a tool to assess balance for someone who ambulates, you need to perform the Functional Gait Assessment, not the Berg Balance Scale. The Berg Balance Scale is indicated when you are assessing static and dynamic sitting and standing balance. It is not appropriate for assessing a person’s balance while ambulating.

Six Recommended Outcome Measures

The six outcome measures recommended in the clinical practice guideline are:

  1. 10 Meter Walk Test—walking speed assessment
  2. 5 Times Sit to Stand—transfer assessment
  3. 6 Minute Walk Test—walking distance assessment
  4. Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale—balance confidence assessment
  5. Berg Balance Scale—static and dynamic sitting and standing balance assessment
  6. Functional Gait Assessment—walking balance assessment

Note that each outcome measure indicates the test’s ultimate goal so that you can more easily determine which one would be most appropriate for your patient. Consider incorporating these measures into your electronic documentation to make it easier and more efficient to implement.

For direct links to a description and summary of each measure, visit the website of the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy.

Spread the Word!

Now that you’re familiar with these six chosen measurements, incorporate them into your everyday practice and spread the word!

Did you know that it takes an average of 17 years for research evidence to reach clinical practice?2 The sooner we all start using consistent outcome measures, the sooner we can find out which interventions will truly make the biggest difference in our patients’ outcomes and improve their quality of life… and isn’t that what we’re ultimately all about?

  1. Moore, J. L., Potter, K., Blankshain, K., Kaplan, S. L., O'Dwyer, L. C., & Sullivan, J. E. (2018). A core set of outcomes measures for adults with neurologic conditions undergoing rehabilitation: a clinical practice guideline. Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy, 42(3): 174.
  2. Lynch, E. A., Chesworth, B. M., & Connell, L. A. (2018). Implementation—the missing link in the research translation pipeline: Is it any wonder no one ever implements evidence-based practice? Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 32(9):751-761.

Author’s Note: A special thank you to the Core Outcome Measures CPG Work Group of the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy.