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A Simple Bedside Screening Tool for Spasticity Referral

Authors Hacker ML, Ploucher S, Naik AG, Turchan M, Meystedt JC, Harper K, Hedera P, Pirtle CJ, Stubblefield K, Charles D

Received 7 February 2020

Accepted for publication 11 April 2020

Published 13 May 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 655—662


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Mallory L Hacker,1,2 Shelby Ploucher,1,3 Aaditi G Naik,1,4 Maxim Turchan,1 Jacqueline C Meystedt,1 Kelly Harper,1 Peter Hedera,1 Claude J Pirtle,5 Kassandra Stubblefield,1 David Charles1

1Department of Neurology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA; 2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA; 3Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, FL, USA; 4Pritzker School of Medicine, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA; 5Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA

Correspondence: Mallory L Hacker
Neurology and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 440 Crystal Terrace, 3319 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
Email [email protected]

Background and Objectives: Spasticity is common in long-term care facilities; however, this often-disabling condition is largely underdiagnosed in this setting and therefore left untreated. This study aimed to test the ability of a three-question flowchart used at the bedside by primary care providers in the long-term care setting to identify residents in need of referral to a specialist for spasticity consultation.
Methods: All residents of a single long-term care facility were approached for participation in this cross-sectional, observational study. Spasticity diagnostic evaluations by a movement disorders specialist neurologist (reference standard) were compared with referral determinations made by two primary care providers [a primary care physician (PCP) and a nurse practitioner (NP)] using the simple flowchart.
Results: The analysis included 49 residents (80% male, age 78.2± 9.0 years) who were evaluated by the reference standard neurologist and at least one primary care provider. The bedside referral tool demonstrated high sensitivity and moderate specificity when used by the PCP (92% and 78%, respectively; AUC=0.84) and NP (80% and 53%, respectively; AUC=0.67).
Conclusion: This simple tool may be useful for primary care providers to identify residents to be referred to a specialist for evaluation and treatment of spasticity. These results warrant further investigation of the potential utility of this screening tool across multiple long-term care facilities and various types of care providers.

Keywords: spasticity, neurological disease, long-term care, screening, primary care

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