Objective: To examine the intermodal agreement of Functional Independence Measure (FIM) ratings when obtained by two commonly used approaches: telephone interview and in-person assessment of functional performance. Design: A random sample of 40 persons with hemiparesis was tested by two registered nurses trained in FIM definitions and telephone interview techniques. The two assessments occurred within 5 days of each other. The raters were blind to previous assessments. The administration of assessments was alternated to minimize bias and order effects. Setting: All subjects were assessed at home, between 3 and 10 months after discharge from rehabilitation. Patients: The criteria for inclusion were: (1) diagnosis of cerebral vascular accident (CVA); (2) completion of a minimum of 2 weeks in an acute rehabilitation program; (3) currently living at home; (4) living within a 30-mile radius of the hospital; and (5) cognitive and verbal skills adequate to complete a telephone interview. From a population of 103 patients, 40 subjects were randomly selected, 18 women and 22 men ranging in age from 37 to 90 years. Main Outcome Measures: The intermodal agreement between FIM ratings obtained by telephone interview and in-person assessment was examined using the intraclass correlation (ICC). FIM item scores were analyzed for agreement using the Kappa coefficient. The stability of the responses was determined by computing the coefficient of variation and plotting the data to visually examine the relationship between the two methods of administration. Results: Data analysis revealed that there was no statistically significant difference (p > .05) between the two methods of administration for total FIM score. The total FIM ICC was .97. ICC values for FIM subscales ranged from .85 to .98, except for social cognition. Kappa scores for noncognitive items ranged from .49 (bowel movement) to .93 (grooming). The coefficient of variation computed to examine cognitive and communication items with reduced variability indicated good stability across all items. Conclusion: The results indicated good intermodal agreement for follow-up telephone assessment using the Functional Independence Measure. The findings were limited to persons with effective communication skills.
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