Special communication| Volume 99, ISSUE 8, P1681-1687, August 2018

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Optimizing the Management of Spasticity in People With Spinal Cord Damage: A Clinical Care Pathway for Assessment and Treatment Decision Making From the Ability Network, an International Initiative

Published:February 08, 2018DOI:


      The recognition, evaluation, and management of disabling spasticity in persons with spinal cord damage (SCD) is a challenge for health care professionals, institutions, health systems, and patients. To guide the assessment and management of disabling spasticity in individuals with SCD, the Ability Network, an international panel of clinical experts, developed a clinical care pathway. The aim of this pathway is to facilitate treatment decisions that take into account the effect of disabling spasticity on health status, individual preferences and treatment goals, tolerance for adverse events, and burden on caregivers. The pathway emphasizes a patient-centered, individualized approach and the need for interdisciplinary coordination of care, patient involvement in goal setting, and the use of assessment and outcome measures that lend themselves to practical application in the clinic. The clinical care pathway is intended for use by health care professionals who provide care for persons with SCD and disabling spasticity in various settings. Barriers to optimal spasticity management in these people are also discussed. There is an urgent need for the clinical community to clarify and overcome barriers (knowledge-based, organizational, health system) to optimizing the management of spasticity in people with SCD.


      List of abbreviations:

      HRQOL (health-related quality of life), ITB (intrathecal baclofen), SCATS (Spinal Cord Assessment Tool for Spastic Reflexes), SCD (spinal cord damage), SCIM (Spinal Cord Independence Measure), SF-36 (Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey)
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