Measuring clinically relevant outcomes

An easy - and free - way for therapists to assess clinical progress is to use an analogue scale.

Image by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

This can be a numeric scale such as the one developed in 1932 by Rensis Likert (1) to measure attitudes. Typically a 5- or 7-point ordinal scale, respondents rate the degree to which they agree or disagree with a statement. It is essentially a rating scale, usually presented as a score between 1 - 5 or 1 - 10, where the person selects the number to reflect the perceived quality of a product or service.

image by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Likert scales have been adapted for use across multiple health settings and are frequently used in lymphoedema research to track self-reported-symptoms (SRS) such as pain, perceived size, pins and needles or tingling, bursting sensations, limb temperature, ROM, or other commonly experienced symptoms.

Quality of life (QOL) and functional surveys also frequently employ a ranking system to elicit mobility and social impacts, with options such as none, mild, moderate, sever or most severe for the participant to choose from.