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Responsiveness of the Physical Mobility Scale in Long‐term Care Facility Residents

Pike, Eric PT, DPT, MS, NFA1; Landers, Merrill R. PT, DPT, OCS2

Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy: April-june 2010 - Volume 33 - Issue 2 - p 92–98
doi: 10.1097/JPT.0b013e3181df019f
Research Reports

Purpose The Physical Mobility Scale (PMS) is used to evaluate the functional ability of aged adults. It has been shown to be reliable and has evidence to support its validity; however, there has been only 1 study performed to date that has addressed its responsiveness. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the responsiveness of the PMS using residents of a long-term care facility.

Methods Seventy participants who were permanent residents of a long-term care facility were recruited for this study. To determine minimal detectable changes at the 95% confidence level (MDC95), each participant was assessed using the PMS on 2 occasions. To determine the clinically important difference, participants were also tested on 2 separate occasions 3 months apart. The treating physical therapist then used a 7-point Likert scale to rate the participants' change in function.

Results Intrarater reliability for the pre- and post-PMS scores for all 70 participants was excellent (intraclass correlational coefficients [3,1] = 0.982). At the individual level, the MDC95 was 3.98 points. At the group level, the MDC95 for the 70 participants was 0.476 points. Minimal clinically important difference results suggest that a positive change of 5 points is “improved” clinically whereas a 4-point decrease in score is considered “worsened” clinically.

Conclusions The psychometric properties of the PMS in an aging adult population of long-term residents are excellent, demonstrating good reliability and responsiveness. These results also offer some support to the validity of the PMS in this patient population. The utility of the PMS in the long-term care setting for assessing patient status and positive and/or negative functional outcomes is of value to both researcher and clinician.

1Nevada State Veterans' Home, Boulder City.

2Department of Physical Therapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Address correspondence to: Eric Pike, PT, DPT, MS, NFA, Nevada State Veterans' Home, 100 Veteran's Memorial Dr, Boulder City, NV 89005 (

Copyright © 2010 the Section on Geriatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association
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