How is the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) used to determine outcomes for traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

Updated: Mar 02, 2020
  • Author: Percival H Pangilinan, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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The FIM is one of the most widely used measures of function in rehabilitation (Table 3). It is an 18-item scale used to assess the patient's level of independence in mobility, self-care, and cognition. However, it may lack sensitivity in patients with very low or very high levels of function. Therefore, the FIM may be an inadequate outcome measure for patients at either extreme of TBI recovery.

Table 4. Functional Independence Measure (Open Table in a new window)

Clinical Area


A. Eating

B. Grooming

C. Bathing

D. Dressing - upper body

E. Dressing - lower body

F. Toileting

Sphincter control

G. Bladder management

H. Bowel management


I. Bed, chair, wheelchair

J. Toilet

K. Tub, shower


L. Walking, wheelchair

M. Stairs

Motor subtotal score:


N. Comprehension

O. Expression

Social interaction

P. Expression

Q. Problem solving

R. Memory

Cognitive subtotal score:


Source—Keith et al, 1987. [12]

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