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Bladder Control Scale (BLCS)
Availability
Freely available from the NMSS: Bladder Control Scale (BLCS) website
Classification
Supplemental: Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Exploratory: Friedreich's Ataxia (FA)
Short Description of Instrument
Construct measured: Bladder control and impact of bladder problems on everyday activities.
Generic vs. disease specific: Generic.
Means of administration: Self-report or by a trained interviewer.
Intended respondent: Patient or caregiver.
# of items: 4.
# of subscales and names of sub-scales: N/A.
# of items per sub-scale: N/A.
Comments/Special Instructions
Scoring: The total score for the Bladder Control Scale (BLCS) is the sum of the scores for the 4 items.
Background: The BLCS is part of the MSQLI and a structured, self-report questionnaire that the patient can generally complete with little or no intervention from an interviewer. It is based on items from the Bowel-Bladder Function Scale (Turnbull et al, 1992) and the Sickness Impact Profile. This 4-item instrument provides a brief assessment of bladder control and the extent to which bladder problems have an impact on everyday activities.
Rationale/Justification
Strengths/Weaknesses: The BLCS is easy to administer and focuses on the basics of bladder control. The scale was not designed as a comprehensive assessment of neurogenic bladder dysfunction and does not address issues such as urinary hesitancy and retention, detrusor-sphincter dyssynergia, etc.
Psychometric Properties: The BLCS has a Cronbach's alpha of .82. In the original field testing of the MSQLI of which it is a part, the BLCS showed a modest but significant correlation with the Bladder and Bowel item of the Kurtzke Functional Systems and the Bladder Control Scale. Given the high frequency of bladder dysfunction among MS patients, the BLCS has high face validity.
Administration: Administration time is approximately 2-3 minutes. However, patients with visual or upper extremity impairments may need to have the BLCS administered as an interview. Interviewers should be trained in basic interviewing skills and in the use of this instrument.