Determining functional/health status and its relation to disability in stroke survivors.
Determining the functional/health status of stroke survivors poses special difficulties because of cognitive impairments that frequently result from stroke. A possible means of assessing the status of stroke survivors who are cognitively impaired is getting proxy responses from a family member or other caregiver. Proxy agreement was evaluated for two measures of functional/health status, the Frenchay Activities Index (FAI) and the Health Status Questionnaire (HSQ), and a measure of disability, the Functional Independence Measure (FIM).
Thirty-eight stroke survivors were administered the measures at follow-up (median time since the stroke, 6 months). Caregivers were instructed to answer as proxies for the stroke survivors in their care. Demographics on age, sex, race, marital status, educational level, side of lesion, and relation of stroke survivor to caregiver were collected.
Proxy agreement was excellent for the FAI (intraclass correlation, .85) and the FIM (.87), but poor for the HSQ scales (average proxy agreement, .32). Patients' scores were low and positively skewed for the FAI but high and negatively skewed for the FIM. Although Spearman rho coefficients between the measures were fairly high for both stroke survivors and proxy respondents, the correlation of scores was substantially weaker when the group of less severely impaired survivors (as established by FIM ratings) was considered separately.
The FAI and the FIM are useful for assessing the functional/health status of stroke survivors because answers can be obtained by proxy. Future studies should examine the relations between disability and functional/health status, with explicit attention paid to variations in the level of disability in the stroke survivors.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association