COSMIN database

Functional assessment in physiotherapy. A literature review

Thonnard, J. L. and Penta, M.
The present literature review on functional assessment in physiotherapy was carried out for the following reasons: 1) to identify the functional instruments used in the field of physiotherapy that were supported by published evidence of their psychometric qualities; 2) to investigate how these instruments relate to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF); and 3) to investigate the use of functional instruments in the financing of physiotherapy. A search of Medline from 1990 to December 2005, in the domains of functional evaluation, psychometric qualities, functional classification, and health policy in relation to physiotherapy resulted in a list of 1,567 studies. Two reviewers examined the resulting references on the basis of their title and abstract, in order to select the studies that presented data on the psychometric qualities of functional evaluation tests, leading to a final selection of 44 such studies. A selection of functional tests was identified in four major diagnostic groups treated in community physiotherapy: musculoskeletal disorders (including lower back pain), stroke, the elderly, and traumatic brain injuries. The functional tests authors identified essentially cover the body and activities dimension of the ICF. The selected tests could be used as a basis for the standardisation of functional evaluation of the major diagnostic groups treated in community physiotherapy. This means that standards are available for reporting and following the evolution of patients both longitudinally and transversally. Nevertheless, in the current literature review no attempt at using functional outcomes as a rationale for financing physiotherapy could be found to date.
Eura Medicophys
0014-2573 (Print)
Publication year:
Functional status:
Physical functioning
Adults (18-65)
Children (0-18)
Seniors (65+)
Diseases of and symptoms related to the circulatory system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
Diseases of and symptoms related to the nervous system
Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes
PRO / non-PRO:
Non-patient Reported Outcome
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
2 - Interviews
4 - Performance-based tests
6 - Clinical rating scales
7 - Observations
6MWT - 6-Minute Walk Test    | 
ABPS / ALBPS - Aberdeen (Low) Back Pain Scale    |  | also see:
Back-specific version of the SF-36 Physical Functioning Scale
BBS - Berg Balance Scale   
EQ-5D - EuroQoL-5 Dimensions   
FFD - Finger Floor Distance
FGA - Functional Gait Assessment
FMA - Fugl-Meyer Motor Assessment   
gait speed
GMF - General Motor Function Assessment Scale
GPE-52 - Global Physiotherapy Examination 52
JVB - Jan van Breemen Functional Scale
JVB Pain Scale - Jan van Breemen Pain Scale
LEFS - Lower Extremity Function Scale
MAL - Motor Activity Log   
MMST - modified-modified Shober test
Mobility mile stones
ODI - Oswestry Disability Index   
Passive intervertebral motion of the cervical spine
PCBSS- Postural Control and Balance for Stroke Scale
PII - Physical Impairment Index
PPT-8 - 8-item Physical Perfomance Test
QR&S - Questionnaire Rising and Sitting Down
RMA - Rivermead Motor Assessment
RMDQ - Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire    
RVGA - Rivermead Visual Gait Assessment
SAS - Stroke Assessment Scale
Shuttle walk test   
SIAS - Stroke Impairment Assessment Set
SIP - Sickness Impact Profile   
SPIRIT - Stroke Physiotherapy Intervention Recording Tool
Standing Flexion Test
step length measurement
step width measurement
STREAM - Stroke Rehabilitation Assessment of Movement
VAS-L - Visual Analogue Pain Scale when Least pain
VAS - Visual Analogue Scale   
VAS-W - Visual Analogue Pain Scale when Worst pain