Background: Joint contractures are a common health problem in older persons with significant impact on activities of daily living. We aimed to retrieve outcome measures applied in studies on older persons with joint contractures and to identify and categorise the concepts contained in these outcome measures using the ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health) as a reference.
Methods: Electronic searches of Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, Pedro and the Cochrane Library were conducted (1/2002-8/2012). We included studies in the geriatric rehabilitation and nursing home settings with participants aged ≥ 65 years and with acquired joint contractures. Two independent reviewers extracted the outcome measures and transferred them to concepts using predefined conceptual frameworks. Concepts were subsequently linked to the ICF categories.
Results: From the 1057 abstracts retrieved, 60 studies met the inclusion criteria. We identified 52 single outcome measures and 24 standardised assessment instruments. A total of 1353 concepts were revealed from the outcome measures; 96.2% could be linked to 50 ICF categories in the 2nd level; 3.8% were not categorised. Fourteen of the 50 categories (28%) belonged to the component Body Functions, 4 (8%) to the component Body Structures, 26 (52%) to the component Activities and Participation, and 6 (12%) to the component Environmental Factors.
Conclusions: The ICF is a valuable reference for identifying and quantifying the concepts of outcome measures on joint contractures in older people. The revealed ICF categories remain to be validated in populations with joint contractures in terms of clinical relevance and personal impact.