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How to Administer the Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT)

How to Administer the Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT)
Veronica T. Rowe, PhD, OTR/L, CBIST
November 22, 2013

This text based course is a transcript of the live webinar titled "How to Administer the Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT)", presented by Veronica Rowe, M.S., OTR/L, CBIST.


I am here to talk to you about the Wolf Motor Function Test.  I became familiar with this at my work at Emory where we used the Wolf Motor Function Test quite extensively in our research.  The objectives today are to explain the value of the Wolf Motor Function Test, or "Wolf", teach you how to administer it, and give you some background and rationale.  It is a very reliable and valid assessment. 

Some rhetorical questions you can think about.  How you document improvement in your patients?  Do you use standardized evaluations?  Observations?  How do you know that your patients are improving?  How do you evaluate the effectiveness of a new intervention?  Do you look at an assessment’s clinical utility or its psychometrics?  Are you familiar with the ICF model?  If so, how do you use it to determine your outcome measure?   We are going to look a little bit at the ICF model when choosing assessment outcome measures.  Finally, how do you assess how your treatment affects your patient's quality of life?  Again by looking through the ICF, I think we can see the importance of using evaluations and assessment tools to measure that the quality of life in our patients.

International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)

In 2001, the World Health Organization created the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health.  They came up with this graph to describe the different factors that contribute to our health condition.  By health condition, we typically think disorder or disease, but it can be any health condition.  Our health is impacted by so many different things, such as body functions, structures, activities, participation, personal factors, and environmental factors. 


Figure 1. This figure represents the ICF model.

I like how this map has arrows going in all directions because all of these aspects affect everything else.  If we look at all these different aspects, we can get an idea of what type of assessment we want to use for different people and why based on these different factors. When you are choosing a measurement tool, you want to consider if the measurement is assessing body function and impairment, activity, participation, external factors, or personal factors, and which of these factors do you want your assessment to measure?  You also want to think about the stage of the patient when you are choosing an assessment tool.  What are their capabilities, both motor and cognitive?  What type of setting are you treating them in?  How long has it been since their diagnosis?  You want to think about your goals of treatment. Will the assessment help you document the patient's progress?  You also want to consider the patient and caregiver goals.

veronica t rowe

Veronica T. Rowe, PhD, OTR/L, CBIST

Dr. Veronica Rowe has over 24 years of experience as an occupational therapist, she has worked in various areas of adult and geriatric care including acute care, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, long term care, burns, hands, and psychiatric care, all areas with an emphasis in neurological disorders.  Prior to her work in academia, she spent her career in St. Louis, Missouri at St. Anthony’s Medical Center; Baltimore, Maryland at Johns Hopkins Bayview; and Atlanta, Georgia at Emory University.  She served as a project coordinator for numerous research studies at Emory University involving rehabilitation therapies for the neurologically compromised upper extremity, including constraint induced movement therapy, mental imagery, and use of robotic devices.  She has collaborated on several research studies involving task-specific training and neurorehabilitation assessment measures with the University of Southern California.  She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, and has presented nationally, internationally, and virtually for a wide variety of audiences.  She is also a Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainer. She has over 13 years of experience teaching in occupational therapy at the University of Central Arkansas and Georgia State University. She currently teaches and mentors research and neurological rehabilitation courses in occupational therapy.


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