Objectives: To develop and evaluate a four-point scale visual gait assessment form, the Rivermead Visual Gait Assessment (RVGA), for clinical use with patients with neurological deficits.
Design: Preliminary clinical testing of reliability, validity and sensitivity to change.
Setting: Patients were recruited from the Rivermead Rehabilitation Centre (RRC), a centre specializing in rehabilitation for patients with neurological disease.
Patients: Ten inpatients were assessed by up to seven physiotherapists for the main reliability study, and eight different patients were also assessed by two raters one week apart. Twenty outpatients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who were receiving physiotherapy to improve their mobility and 27 inpatients with various neurological conditions were also assessed and the data used to examine validity, re iability and sensitivity to change.
Outcome: The other comparative measures used were walking time, stride length, step length asymmetry, balance and the Rivermead Mobility Index.
Results: Inter-rater reliability between multiple raters was reasonable both for the global scores from the gait assessment form (Kendall's coefficient of concordance; p < 0.001), and for individual items (complete agreement occurred on 63.8% of all observations). There was a significant correlation between the global RVGA score and the various criterion measures (r = 0.53-0.79; p < 0.001) and between change in the RVGA score and change in walking time in patients who received treatment (r = 0.68; p < 0.01).
Conclusions: The RVGA provides the clinician with a clinical assessment of the quality of gait which may be used in conjunction with other measures to inform and monitor the value of physiotherapy treatment for people with MS and stroke, and possibly other neurological deficits.