Spasticity over time during acute rehabilitation: A study of patient and clinician scores

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13 Scopus citations


Aims: The aims of this study were to describe spasticity trajectories as a function of time, gender, and diagnosis and to explore the correspondence between patient and clinician scores of spasticity. Background: Discrepancy between examiner assessment and patient rating of spasticity exists. Assessments that include the patient perspective are critical for patient safety. This mixed-method study provided patient descriptors of spasticity integrated with clinical scales. Method: Twenty-three participants provided spasticity descriptors and rated their spasticity based on Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) scores. A clinician evaluated spasticity daily using the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS). This resulted in 1976 points of data for analysis. Results: Spasticity was highly variable over time. The empirical correspondence between the clinician-rated MAS and the patient-rated NRS revealed that patient and examiner understanding of spasticity were diverged considerably. Conclusions: Clinical evaluation protocols should include patient reports on spasticity. Knowledge about patient word choice can enhance patient-provider communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-23
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Nursing Research
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Grant #08-RS-1 from the Sister Kenny Foundation to the first author.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc..

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Communication
  • Mixed method
  • Nursing
  • Spasticity
  • Symptom experiences


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