Objective: To investigate the inter-rater reliability of the Early Functional Abilities (EFA) scale.
Design: An observational study of inter-rater reliability in an open cohort.
Patients: Twenty-four patients with traumatic brain injury in need of medical or surgical intervention in the early rehabilitation section of the intensive care unit.
Methods: The EFA was assessed by 4 different professions in the rehabilitation team. Inter-rater reliability was assessed using linear weighted kappa statistics.
Results: The overall weighted kappa values of the different EFA items varied from 0.27 to 0.60. The items in the sensorimotor functional area had the highest pairwise agreement,with a mean kappa range of 0.68–0.76. The vegetativest ability, position tolerance and wakefulness items had the lowest mean kappa values (0.49, 0.33 and 0.49, respectively). Agreement was good to excellent between the occupational therapist and physiotherapist across the majority of the items, whereas the physician and nurse agreed less with one another.
Conclusion: The inter-rater reliability of the EFA scale was good for most items among all the raters. The scale maybe used by all members of the interdisciplinary team after training in administration and scoring. A reduction in the number of items in the vegetative functional domain is recommended.