A Comparative Study of Impairment Ratings in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Authors

  • Nancy J. Holland MA RN;,

    National Director of Chapter and Community Services, Corresponding author
      National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 205 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017.
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  • Frances Francabandera MSN RN;,

  • Phyllis Wiesel-Levison BSN RN;,

  • June Halper MSN RN C;,

  • Nicholas G. LaRocca PhD;,

  • Labe C. Scheinberg MD


National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 205 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017.

Abstract

The Kurtzke Scale has been recently modified and is known as the “Expanded Disability Status Scale” (EDSS). The score obtained by application of this scale has been used by physicians for many years to document and communicate the impairment level of their MS patients. Nursing staff of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Holy Name Hospital MS Centers in New York used a modified evaluation tool to score 50 patients. Agreement between nurses and physicians tended to occur at mid-point and higher on the EDSS. Scores on the lower end of the EDSS reflect minimal physical impairment and are dependent upon subtleties in the neurological examination. A major conclusion is that nurse-physician use of this scale is reasonable for individuals who are experiencing some degree of disability. Since this population is the one most commonly in contact with the healthcare system, MDRN utilization of the EDSS has certain specific beneficial applications.

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