Selecting rehabilitation outcome measures for people with multiple sclerosis

Evan T. Cohen, Kirsten Potter, Diane D. Allen, Susan E. Bennett, Kathi G. Brandfass, Gail L. Widener, Amy M. Yorke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Despite the well-known benefits of using standardized outcome measures (OMs) in clinical practice, a variety of barriers interfere with their use. In particular, rehabilitation therapists lack sufficient knowledge in selecting appropriate OMs. The challenge is compounded when working with people with multiple sclerosis (MS) owing to heterogeneity of the patient population and symptom variability in individual patients. To help overcome these barriers, the American Physical Therapy Association appointed the Multiple Sclerosis Outcome Measures Task Force to review and make evidence-based recommendations for OM use in clinical practice, education, and research specific to people with MS. Sixty-three OMs were reviewed based on their clinical utility, psychometric properties, and a consensus evaluation of the appropriateness of use for people with MS. We sought to illustrate use of the recommendations for two cases. The first case involves a 43-year-old man with new-onset problems after an exacerbation. The second case pertains to an outpatient clinic interested in assessing the effectiveness of their MS rehabilitation program. For each case, clinicians identified areas that were important to assess and various factors deemed important for OM selection. Criteria were established and used to assist in OM selection. In both cases, the described processes narrowed the selection of OMs and assisted with choosing the most appropriate ones. The recommendations, in addition to the processes described in these two cases, can be used by clinicians in any setting working with patients with MS across the disability spectrum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-189
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of MS Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing

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