Assessment of motor limb strength by neuroscience nurses: variations in practice and associated challenges

Neal F. Cook, Mary E. Braine, Ciara O'Rourke, Siobhan Nolan

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Abstract

Background: Limb strength is a central component of neurological
assessment and monitoring in nursing practice, yet there is a lack of research
examining the tools used by nurses or challenges nurses encounter when
using these tools. The evidence base is lacking to inform effective practice
and the underpinning educational approaches. Aim: To determine which
tools are used by UK and Irish neuroscience nurses in the assessment
of limb strength and the associated challenges and variations in practice.
Methods: This study used an online self-reported survey design to ascertain
which tools neuroscience nurses used and their experience of using these
(n=160). Findings: Practices varied, with a dominance of two tools being
used in practice: the Medical Research Council scale and the ‘normal power’
to ‘no movement’ scale found on the neurological observation chart. Most
respondents used the same tool across all conditions. Conclusion: This study
highlights variations in assessment practice and the absence of a sound
evidence base behind choice of motor limb strength assessment tools used.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1033-1039
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Volume31
Issue number20
Early online date10 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 12 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Limb strength assessment
  • Muscle strength grading
  • Motor strength assessment
  • Neurological assessment
  • Neuroscience nursing
  • General Nursing
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Humans
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

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