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The Ability to complete a questionnaire & Shoulder Pain Questionnaires (AbilityQ & ShoulderQ)

Shoulder pain is a common complication following a stroke which can have an impact on functional use of the limb. Management of shoulder pain using an Integrated Care Pathway (ICP) assists in timely management of hemiplegic shoulder pain. An essential component of the Integrated Care Pathway is to monitor shoulder pain in a standardised way. 

However, following a stroke physical, cognitive and communicative impairments may be present comprising ability to complete a questionnaire particularly relating to the severity, time and potential cause of shoulder pain.  

The Ability to complete a questionnaire (AbilityQ) is a screening tool administered prior to the shoulder pain questionnaire (ShoulderQ) to establish ability to complete multiple choice questions and verbal/visual analogue scales (VAS) and any assistance required, such as reading questions, writing answers or prompting.  

The Shoulder pain questionnaire (ShoulderQ) is a structured questionnaire designed to assess the time and severity of hemiplegic shoulder pain particularly for patients with complex cognitive/communicative deficits following an acquired brain injury. 

ShoulderQ includes questions to include the severity and frequency of pain at three different time points:

  • At rest
  • At night
  • On movement 

A verbal/numerical or visual graphic rating scale is used to assess the pain severity. It also contains additional question on factors impacting on pain, and treatments that alleviate pain.


  • The AbilityQ is a screening tool to assist clinicians in identifying the reliability of patients ability to complete a questionnaire.
  • The ShoulderQ is a simple and practical tool for evaluation of shoulder pain in patients with severe complex disabilities often affecting communication and cognition for whom identifying shoulder pain would otherwise be difficult to establish.
  • They form part of the Hemiplegic Shoulder Pain Integrated Care Pathway (ICP) to target shoulder pain relief and management effectively.



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