Standardized tests are used to accurately and objectively measure baseline status and to facilitate appropriate therapeutic interventions. Along with supporting baseline findings, they also serve to demonstrate progress throughout the treatment episode. CMS instructs clinicians to assess “objective, measurable gains” and advocates using standardized scales and assessment tools, emphasizing the importance of objective data to support skilled interventions.

To start, select the tool that best fits the intervention and intended outcomes based on medical history, diagnosis, deficits, and abilities presented during the initial interview and observation. For the results to be valid and reliable, the instructions and scoring must be followed the established format. Always allow sufficient time for the participant to process instructions and perform the task.

While there are many different standardized tests available, we have selected the following assessments which would be applicable to most of our clinical settings.


  • Mann Assessment of Swallowing Abilities (MASA) – evaluation of oropharyngeal dysphagia
  • Modified Borg Scale (MBS)-assessment tool for dyspnea
  • Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Skills – assesses 8 domains of IADLS
  • Mini-BESTest: Balance Evaluation Systems Test – clinical balance assessment tool
  • Motor Assessment Scale for Stroke – assessment of 8 areas of motor function in mobility and ADLS
  • Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living – assesses performance in 6 basic ADLS
  • Modified Ashworth Scale – measures spasticity in patients with CNS lesions
  • Function in Sitting Test (FIST) – a clinical examination of sitting balance
  • Discomfort Scale for Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (DS-DAT) – evaluates frequency and duration of 9 indicators associated with discomfort
  • Elderly Mobility Scale (EMS) – assessment of mobility considering locomotion, balance, and key position changes
  • Braden Scale for Predicting Pressure Sore Risk – assesses likelihood of developing pressure ulcers


LINKS to other Standardized Tests: