Neurological Outcome Measures

Original Editor - Naomi O'Reilly Top Contributors - Kim Jackson


An outcome measure is the result of a test that is used to objectively determine the baseline function of a patient at the beginning of treatment. Once treatment has commenced, the same instrument can be used to determine progress and treatment efficacy. With the move towards Evidence Based Practice (EBP) in the health sciences, objective measures of outcome are important to provide credible and reliable justification for treatment. The instrument should also be convenient to apply for the therapist and comfortable for the patient.

Reliability, Validity and Responsiveness

The outcome measure should have been shown to test the particular aspect of function that it is reported to test (validity) and the results should be the same (or similar) regardless of who administers the test or when it is administered (reliability). Finally, the test or scale should actually be able to test change over time in whatever is being tested (responsiveness). The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists in the United Kingdom makes it clear that standardised outcome measures should be used routinely in normal practice:

"Taking account of the patient’s problems, a published, standardised, valid, reliable and responsive outcome measure is used to evaluate the change in the patient’s health status" (Core standards of physiotherapy practice, 2005).

Statistical Analysis

Some outcome measures have been statistically tested to determine actual validity and reliability and it must be noted that some are more valid and reliable than others. Analysis should also be performed to determine if the change in score on the test is a result of the intervention (treatment), or not.

Guide to Selecting Outcome Measures

Guide to Selecting Outcome Measures


General Outcome Measures Database

Patient Reported Outcome Measures

Articles: An introduction to patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in physiotherapy

Cochrane Patient-reported Outcomes

Acquired Brain Injury

Cerebral Palsy

Multiple Scelrosis

Parkinsons Disease

Spinal Cord Injury

Articles: Outcome Measures in Spinal Cord Injury: Recent Assessments and Recommendations for Future Directions

Presentations: Outcome Measurement Selection in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury: Application of the SCI EDGE