Assessments of upper limb ability following stroke: a review

Journal article citation:
British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(10), October 2008, pp.427-437.

The aim of this paper was to review the psychometric properties and clinical utility of assessments of upper limb ability following stroke. Upper limb ability was defined as the use of the arm in meaningful activity. The database searches identified 13 assessments of upper limb ability. The inclusion criteria were (a) an evaluation of upper limb ability post-stroke, (b) a quantitative assessment yielding a numerical score, (c) able to be administered by an occupational therapist and (d) published information building on the results of a review in 2001. The assessments included were reviewed with respect to the ability measured, equipment required, evidence of reliability and validity, and advantages and disadvantages of use. Seven assessments satisfied the inclusion criteria. These assessments have undergone varying degrees of psychometric testing as outcome measures for upper limb recovery and all demonstrate at least adequate levels of reliability and validity. There is variation in the availability of instruction manuals and time commitments for test administration. All test items are generally available and inexpensive, enabling departments to set up the assessments with minimal financial outlay. The assessments described are regularly used in research and all demonstrate psychometric properties that suggest that they could be incorporated into clinical practice. Occupational therapists are encouraged to consider how they may include these assessments into their own clinical practice. An important step in this process may be further research into the clinical utility of these assessments.

Subject terms:
instruments, mobility, occupational therapy, stroke, assessment;
Content type:
research review
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