AIM: The routine use of psychometrically robust assessment tools is integral to best practice. This systematic review aims to determine the extent to which evidence-based assessment tools were used by allied health practitioners for children with cerebral palsy (CP).
METHOD: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis protocols 2015 was employed. A search strategy applied the free text terms: 'allied health practitioner', 'assessment', and 'cerebral palsy', and related subject headings to seven databases. Included articles reported assessment practices of occupational therapists, physiotherapists, or speech pathologists working with children with CP aged 0 to 18 years, published from the year 2000.
RESULTS: Fourteen articles met the inclusion criteria. Eighty-eight assessment tools were reported, of which 23 were in high use. Of these, three tools focused on gross motor function and had acceptable validity for use with children with CP: Gross Motor Function Measure, Gross Motor Function Classification System, and goniometry. Validated tools to assess other activity components, participation, quality of life, and pain were used infrequently or not at all.
INTERPRETATION: Allied health practitioners used only a few of the available evidence-based assessment tools. Assessment findings in many areas considered important by children and families were rarely documented using validated assessment tools.