[Abstract+References] Do Activity Level Outcome Measures Commonly Used in Neurological Practice Assess Upper-Limb Movement Quality? 

Background. Movement is described in terms of task-related end point characteristics in external space and movement quality (joint rotations in body space). Assessment of upper-limb (UL) movement quality can assist therapists in designing effective treatment approaches for retraining lost motor elements and provide more detailed measurements of UL motor improvements over time.

Objective. To determine the extent to which current activity level outcome measures used in neurological practice assess UL movement quality.

Methods. Outcome measures assessing arm/hand function at the International Classification of Function activity level recommended by neurological clinical practice guidelines were reviewed. Measures assessing the UL as part of a general mobility assessment, those strictly evaluating body function/structure or participation, and paediatric measures were excluded. Results. In all, 15 activity level outcome measures were identified; 9 measures assess how movement is performed by measuring either end point characteristics or movement quality. However, except for the Reaching Performance Scale for Stroke and the Motor Evaluation Scale for Upper Extremity in Stroke Patients, these measures only account for deficits indirectly by giving a partial score if movements are slower or if the person experiences difficulties. Six outcome measures neither assess any parameters related to movement quality, nor distinguish between improvements resulting from motor compensation or recovery of desired movement strategies.

Conclusion. Current activity measures may not distinguish recovery from compensation and adequately track changes in movement quality over time. Movement quality may be incorporated into clinical assessment using observational kinematics with or without low-cost motion tracking technology.

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Source: Do Activity Level Outcome Measures Commonly Used in Neurological Practice Assess Upper-Limb Movement Quality?Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair – Marika Demers, Mindy F. Levin, 2017

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