Tests and measures used by specialist physical therapists when examining patients with stroke

J Neurol Phys Ther. 2008 Sep;32(3):122-8. doi: 10.1097/NPT.0b013e3181847a2f.


Background and purpose: Examination procedures preferred by physical therapists have not been documented either specifically or comprehensively. The purpose of this study was to determine which tests and measures are used most frequently by specialists in the examination of adults with stroke.

Subjects: Physical therapy specialists were identified as having geriatric or neurologic certification through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. A request to participate in a Web-based survey was sent to 471 individuals in the American Physical Therapy Association's Directory of Certified Specialists.

Methods: A comprehensive list of tests and measures was first derived from the Interactive Guide to Physical Therapist Practice. The list was finalized based on several exclusion criteria and the results of a pilot study. Subjects rated the frequency of use of 294 tests and measures with patients post-stroke on a Likert scale.

Results: The survey response rate was 31.7% (n = 128). The 50 most frequently used tests and measures were identified.

Discussion and conclusion: The results of this study do not identify the tests and measures that clinicians should use, only those that the specialists use. Nevertheless, clinicians may want to consider tests and measurements frequently used by specialists when examining adults with stroke.

MeSH terms

  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Humans
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty*
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires