UNB Test of Prosthetic Function reliable for adult upper limb amputees

The University of New Brunswick Test of Prosthetic Function, originally developed for use in children, had acceptable reliability and preliminary evidence of validity in adults with upper limb amputation, according to recent study results. However, researchers recommended refinements to the scoring criteria and grading rules to improve inter-rater reliability for individual items.

Researchers administered the University of New Brunswick (UNB) Test of Prosthetic Function for 11-13 year olds to 51 adult participants with upper limb amputation. Forty-five of the participants completed the test, which included 10 activities, including but not limited to wrapping a parcel, sewing a button on cloth, cutting meat, drying dishes and sweeping floors, twice within 1 week. Researchers examined internal consistency and estimated test-retest as well as inter-rater reliability. Correlations between UNB scales, the Modified Box and Block Test, the modified Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function Test and the self-reported Upper Extremity Functional Scale were also examined.

According to study results, alphas were 0.74-0.75 for spontaneity and 0.69-0.79 for skill. Intraclass correlation coefficients for test-retest reliability were 0.74 for spontaneity and 0.79 for skill. Study results showed moderate measures for UNB correlations with dexterity and weak correlations for spontaneity with the Upper Extremity Functional Scale and non-significant for skill.

“Although the scores on the skill and spontaneity scales differed statistically, they were correlated at 0.95 and less than 0.1 points apart, suggesting that the use of both scales may be unnecessary for adults,” the researchers said. “Given the concerns about the ability to accurately observe spontaneity of prosthetic use in a clinical setting, because adults are aware that they are being observed, we recommend that the skill scale be chosen instead of the spontaneity scale.”

For more information:

Resnik L. J Hand Ther. 2013;doi:10.1016/j.jht.2013.06.004.

Disclosure: This study was supported by the Office of Research and Development Rehabilitation R&D Service Department of Veterans Affairs.

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