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Juneja, Girish MD; Czyrny, James J. MD2; Linn, Richard T. PhD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: September-October 1998 - Volume 77 - Issue 5 - p 388-393
Research Articles

The objective of the study contained herein was to evaluate the clinical use of the Berg Balance Scale in a heterogeneous acute inpatient rehabilitation population and to assess the relationship between balance scores at admission and rehabilitation outcomes, including functional gain and length of stay. This was a prospective study of 45 patients with diagnoses including stroke (n = 15), traumatic brain injury (n = 19), and other impairments (n = 11) who were admitted for acute inpatient rehabilitation. Functional ability was evaluated with the Functional Independence Measure (FIM™) instrument, and balance was measured using the 14-item Berg Balance Scale. These measures were assessed both at admission to and discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. Correlation and multiple regression analyses were used to determine the relationship between balance and functional ability scores at admission and rehabilitation outcomes at discharge, including length of stay, functional gain, and efficiency. Analyses of variance comparing impairment groups indicated that patients with traumatic brain injury were younger than the stroke and other groups, but there were no group differences on FIM or balance scores at admission or discharge. There were no significant group differences for any of the outcome measures. When the impairment groups were collapsed into a single heterogeneous group, multiple regression analyses demonstrated that the sitting unsupported item score at admission accounted for 27% of the variation in length of stay, once demographic influences were controlled. The FIM efficiency score was predicted best by the total Berg Balance Scale score, with 22% of the variance accounted for. In contrast, balance scores did not provide predictive information about the FIM gain score beyond that already provided by the FIM-Total score at admission, which accounted for 10% of the variance once demographics were controlled. Balance scores collected at admission to inpatient rehabilitation, in whole and in part, were shown to account for moderate amounts of variation in length of stay and the FIM efficiency score. For several of the rehabilitation outcomes, balance scores at admission accounted for more variation than scores on the FIM instrument. These findings suggest that routine assessment of balance at admission to inpatient rehabilitation may enhance the ability to predict rehabilitation outcomes beyond that provided by assessment of functional status alone.

1From the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Buffalo, New York.

FIM is a trademark of the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation, a division of U B Foundation Activities, Inc.

2All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to: Erie County Medical Center, 462 Grider Street, Buffalo, NY 14215.

© Williams & Wilkins 1998. All Rights Reserved.