Validity and Reliability of the Barthel Index Administered by Telephone

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Background and Purpose—We aimed to evaluate validity and reliability of the Barthel Index administered telephonically compared with face-to-face assessment in clinically stable patients with stroke.Methods—One hundred thirty-one patients were interviewed twice by 2 registered nurses with identical training. Half of the patients were randomized to receive the telephone interview followed by the face-to-face interview and half the contrary. The sequence of interviewers was randomized.Results—The median value of the Barthel Index score was 30 (first to third interquartile range, 15 to 80) by telephone and 35 (15 to 75) by face-to-face (P=0.29). The weighted κ was 0.90 (95% CI, 0.85 to 0.94); κ values ranged from 0.70 (0.58 to 0.82) for bowel control to 0.91 (0.83 to 0.99) for bathing.Conclusions—Telephone assessment of stroke disability with the Barthel Index is reliable in comparison to direct face-to-face assessment.

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