Measurement Characteristics and Clinical Utility of the Van Lieshout Test-Short Version Among Persons With Cervical Spinal Cord Injury

      Researchers need a reliable and valid method of assessing arm and hand function in individuals who have sustained a cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). The Van Lieshout Hand Function Test for Tetraplegia-Short Version (VLT-SV) reduces administrative burden when testing components of hand function such as positioning and stabilizing the arms, development of the opening and closing of the “function hand,” grasp and release, and manipulation using the thumb and fingers.1 The test contains 10 of the original 19 tasks and decreases the administration time from 60 to 90 minutes down to 25 to 35 minutes.1 The 10 items are scored from 0 (worst function) to 5 (best function), and the sum of these scores measures the most functional hand’s ability to perform basic activities.1 Rasch analysis suggests rescoring certain items to better equate related items, with a maximum score of 3 per item.2 A training course can be purchased through the instrument’s website along with required items.1 The instrument has excellent test-retest reliability (0.90), internal consistency (0.88-0.95), inter-rater reliability (0.98-0.99), and excellent construct validity with the original VLT (0.90-0.93).1. 3. SCI-EDGE, a taskforce of the Neurology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association that uses the Evidence Database to Guide Effectiveness, recommends the VLT-SV for use in intervention research studies in populations with cervical SCI. With the potential to reduce administration time by more than an hour,1 the VLT-SV is a reliable and valid option for researchers to accurately assess important aspects of hand function.
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