Usefulness of the Wee-Functional Independence Measure to Detect Functional Change in Children with Cerebral Palsy

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Abstract

In this descriptive study, the Wee-Functional Independence Measure (WeeFIM) was used to document functional change in children with cerebral palsy after orthopedic surgery and physical therapy. The study sample consisted of 20 children between the ages of four and 12 years with a diagnosis of spastic cerebral palsy. The subjects' WeeFIM scores collected after surgery were compared with WeeFIM scores obtained by a phone interview with a parent at follow-up. Despite differences in subjects' age, time since surgery, physical development, and therapeutic intervention, children with spastic diplegia showed a larger trend toward improvement in functional mobility than children with spastic quadriplegia. A trend toward improvement seemed to be greater in the WeeFIM domains of mobility and sphincter control than in the domain of self-care. The results of the study indicate that the WeeFIM may be an effective test to document change in functional independence for children with cerebral palsy after orthopedic surgery and physical therapy.

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