Quality of life


Activities of Daily Living (ADL)


Measures basic tasks of everyday living


Is used as a predictor of admission to nursing homes and hospitals


Lots of variation, depending on which items are measured and how a disabling condition is classified


SF-12, SF-36, and SF-54


Measure changes in quality of life, mental health, pain, and social function


Reflect the individual’s perceptions and preferences about physical, emotional, and social well-being


Hard to detect changes in quality of life over time


Questions about walking can be construed as offensive to individuals with spinal cord injuries


International Classification of Impairment, Disabilities, and Handicaps (ICIDH)


Was designed by the World Health Organization to classify the consequences of disease and their implications on the patient’s life


Defines impairment, disabilities, and handicaps


ICIDH-2 incorporates disability as a dynamic process and holds that environmental factors can influence the impairment


Needs Assessment Checklist (NAC)


Is used as a rehabilitation outcome measure designed specifically for spinal cord injury population


Uses a 4-point scale


Consists of 199 behavioral indicators that assess patient achievement in nine categories required for maintenance of health and quality of living


Is not subject to floor or ceiling effects

NOTE: MEPs = motor evoked potential; SSEP = somatosensory evoked potential.

assessment (Curt et al., 2004). In addition, the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) has recently published a set of guidelines for clinical trials (ICORD, 2004) and is in the process of developing clinical outcome measures for each type of intervention.

Given the heterogeneity between individuals in terms of the types and severities of their spinal cord injuries (see Table 1-2 and Chapter 2), not only is a common set of outcome measures required, but an integrated rating scale for the assigned set of outcome measures should also be designed. This will improve efforts to define clinical trial end points, monitor the progression of an individual’s treatment, and examine the effects of the treatment intervention on the multiple complications associated with a spinal cord injury.

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