Lower Limb Functional Index: Development and clinimetric properties
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Background. Existing lower-limb, region-specific, patient-reported outcome measures have clinimetric limitations, including limitations in psychometric characteristics (eg, lack of internal consistency, lack of responsiveness, measurement error) and the lack of reported practical and general characteristics. A new patient-reported outcome measure, the Lower Limb Functional Index (LLFI), was developed to address these limitations. Objective. The purpose of this study was to overcome recognized deficiencies in existing lower-limb, region-specific, patient-reported outcome measures through: (1) development of a new lower-extremity outcome scale (ie, the LLFI) and (2) evaluation of the clinimetric properties of the LLFI using the Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS) as a criterion measure. Design. This was a prospective observational study. Methods. The LLFI was developed in a 3-stage process of: (1) item generation, (2) item reduction with an expert panel, and (3) pilot field testing (n=18) for reliability, responsiveness, and sample size requirements for a larger study. The main study used a convenience sample (n=127) from 10 physical therapy clinics. Participants completed the LLFI and LEFS every 2 weeks for 6 weeks and then every 4 weeks until discharge. Data were used to assess the psychometric, practical, and general characteristics of the LLFI and the LEFS. The characteristics also were evaluated for overall performance using the Measurement of Outcome Measures and Bot clinimetric assessment scales. Results. The LLFI and LEFS demonstrated a single-factor structure, comparable reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient [2,1]=.97), scale width, and high criterion validity (Pearson r=.88, with 95% confidence interval [CI]). Clinimetric performance was higher for the LLFI compared with the LEFS on the Measurement of Outcome Measures scale (96% and 95%, respectively) and the Bot scale (100% and 83%, respectively). The LLFI, compared with the LEFS, had improved responsiveness (standardized response mean=1.75 and 1.64, respectively), minimal detectable change with 90% CI (6.6% and 8.1%, respectively), and internal consistency (a.91 and.95, respectively), as well as readability with reduced user error and completion and scoring times. Limitations. Limitations of the study were that only participants recruited from outpatient physical therapy clinics were included and that no specific conditions or diagnostic subgroups were investigated. Conclusion. The LLFI demonstrated sound clinimetric properties. There was lower response error, efficient completion and scoring, and improved responsiveness and overall performance compared with the LEFS. The LLFI is suitable for assessment of lower-limb function. © 2012 American Physical Therapy Association.
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