Functional status in patients with spinal cord injury: A new standardized measurement scale

Mariangela Taricco, Giovanni Apolone, Camillo Colombo, Giovanni Filardo, Elena Telaro, Alessandro Liberati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To report on the validation process of a new functional assessment scale (Valutazione Funzionale Mielolesi [VFM]) for patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). Design: Prospective study testing for the VFM in a sample of patients with SCI to evaluate the scale characteristics in terms of psychometric and clinical validity. Setting: Eight SCI units located in northern Italy. Patients: One hundred patients were recruited and followed up for 18 months. Seventy-seven subjects were men, subjects' mean age was 37 years, 67 were paraplegic, and for 81 their SCI was of traumatic etiology. Main Outcome Measures: VFM's characteristics are described using estimates of construct and criterion validity (estimates of the strength and direction of associations between different VFM tasks and between VFM and other medical and nonmedical variables). The Barthel index was used as concurrent and independent measure. Results: VFM met all psychometric criteria usually recommended and, at least in the current sample, was found to be strongly correlated with independent clinical variables (diagnosis and lesion level) and with the Barthel index. Moreover, most of the domains were able to document large and significant changes over time. Conclusions: VFM is a reliable and valid tool that can be used confidently in the rehabilitation setting for patients with SCI to screen for functional problems and monitor changes in patients' functional status and impact of rehabilitation. (C) 2000 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1173-1178
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Functional status
  • Measurement scales
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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