Improving spasticity screening, diagnosis and treatment in the long-term care setting

Spasticity is a form of muscle rigidity, which is often experienced by people with nervous system injuries. Spasticity can lead to many negative symptoms, such as increased incidence of urinary tract infection, pain and discomfort, and reduced quality of life. Additionally spasticity may impair activities of daily living, making it difficult to perform care activities for patients who require support. Our current line of research aims to validate the use of newly developed tools to assist with the identification of spasticity and to improve diagnostic criteria through identification of new markers of disease.

Spasticity is Common in the Long-Term Care Setting

Setting Spasticity Prevalence Reference
Nursing home 20% (45/209) Gill and Hacker et al., JAMDA, 2020
Veterans home 33% (14/43) Turchan et al., IJNN, 2016
Veterans home 35% (17/49) Hacker et al. Clin. Int. Agiing, 2020


Spasticity is Associated with More Dependency in Activities of Daily Living

Partial effects plot ofage and predicted ADL dependency score

Partial effects plot of age and predicted activities of daily living score in 209 nursing home residents.

Gill and Hacker et. al., JAMDA, 2020 DOI:

A Simple Bedside Tool Identifies Long-Term Care Residents in Need of Spasticity Referral with High Specificity

Spasticity Referral Tool

Hacker et. al., Clin. Int. Aging, 2020