What are the relevant categories, modalities, and outcome measures for assessing lower limb somatosensory function in children with upper motor neuron lesions? A Delphi study.
van Hedel, Hubertus J A
van der Linden, Marietta
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Marsico, P., Mercer, T.H., van Hedel, H.J.A. and van der Linden, M.L. (2022) ‘What are the relevant categories, modalities, and outcome measures for assessing lower limb somatosensory function in children with upper motor neuron lesions? A Delphi study’, Disability and Rehabilitation, pp. 1–10. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2022.2102257.
Somatosensory function of the lower limbs is rarely assessed in children with upper motor neuron lesions despite its potential relevance for motor function. We explored consensus regarding somatosensory categories (exteroception, proprioception, interoception, and body awareness), modalities, and outcome measures relevant to lower limb motor function. Fifteen international experts with experience of somatosensory function assessment participated in this Delphi study. Surveys of four rounds, conducted online, included questions on the relevance of somatosensory categories and modalities for motor function and on the use of potential outcome measures in clinical practice. The experts reached consensus on the relevance of six modalities of the categories exteroception, proprioception, and body awareness. Based on their feedback, we formulated three core criteria for somatosensory outcome measures, namely suitability for clinical practice, child-friendliness, and relevance for motor function. None of the nine available outcome measures fulfilled each criterion. The experts also highlighted the importance of using and interpreting the tests in relation to the child's activity and participation. There was expert consensus on three categories and six modalities of somatosensory function relevant for lower limb motor function. However, existing outcome measures will need to be adapted for use in paediatric clinical practice. IMPLICATION FOR REHABILITATIONConsensus was established for the categories and modalities of somatosensory function relevant for lower limb motor function of children with UMN lesion.Outcome measures should cover tactile function, joint movement and joint position and dynamic position sense, and spatial and structural body representation.None of the nine existing outcome measures fulfilled the core criteria: feasibility for clinical practice, child-friendliness, and relevance to motor function.