Project Title: Testing the Hand Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis
Authors: Jeremy Adderley, Teressa Brown, Susan Forwell and Sinead Hynes
Introduction: Up to 50% of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) report physical limitations related to upper extremity function. The Hand Assessment for MS (HAMS) was created to assist clinicians in forming a multidimensional profile of hand function to facilitate development of individualized upper extremity interventions. The assessment includes a self report questionnaire, a goal setting interview, physical observations, and performance assessment.
1. To determine the feasibility of administering the HAMS for clinicians and patients.
2. To characterize impaired hand function in a cohort of persons with MS.
Method: Ten people with MS and five occupational therapists will be recruited through MS clinics either in response to a recruitment poster or upon referral by the health care team. MS participants will be administered the HAMS by researchers, then will complete questionnaires related to time expenditure, comfort, and clarity. Participating clinicians will administer the HAMS with their own patients and will comment on its feasibility. Results from the HAMS will be analyzed to form a profile of hand function within the cohort.
Practice Implications: This study will provide information as to whether the HAMS is an effective and feasible tool for characterizing hand function and guiding intervention in occupational therapy practice.
Conclusions: The HAMS is the first multidimensional performance-based hand assessment created for MS, and thus evaluating its acceptability and feasibility is integral in determining its clinical utility. The HAMS will enable therapists to efficiently form a profile of hand function that will guide client centered interventions.