Assessment Measurements - What Are They & How Are They Used?

Assessment Measurements - What Are They & How Are They Used?

The most important objective of taking measurements is to know the structure of the patient to determine appropriate configuration of their equipment - both in size and accessories. These measurements will make the equipment functional, practical, and above all, allow the user better mobility in their environment. Like custom-made shoes, if the measurements are off, they can cause injury and/or make Mobility difficult or impossible. In addition to height, age and weight, the most important measurements are:

Hip width

We can use two flat surfaces (cardboard, folder, or rigid magazines). Place them on the sides of the hip and measure the distance from one side to the other. It is important to not bend the flat surfaces around the hips and wear fair clothing.

Hip to knee

Leaning a flat surface, we can take a measurement from the outermost part of the hip to the bend of the knee.

Knee to bottom of the foot

For this measurement, we need to measure from the bend of the knee to the end of the heel, preferably with the footwear commonly worn and the foot well supported on the floor. This measurement will also help determine the cushion model used.

Seat to elbow

To measure the armrest, place the elbow at 90°. The measurement will be made from the seat to the bottom of the elbow.

Scapula to seat

Ask the patient to keep their back as straight as possible and take the measurement from the lower angle of the scapula to the seat.

These are the most essential measurements, but for more specialized equipment, some more are required, here is a graph of what they are:

Other data that affects the measurements is the level of sensitivity and movement. Example: Identify at what level the user has cervical, thoracic or dorsal, lumbar or sacral movement, sensitivity, and control. Example, spinal cord injury at level T7 (LM T7).

Recommendations for adequate measurements:

  • Always be accompanied by a family member because the patient can fall.

  • Use a wooden bench or chair so that the measurements are as accurate and close to the body.

  • Use a tape measure, not flexible tape.

  • Confirm and/or update the measurements for subsequent equipment.