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Standing and Walking Assessment Tool (SWAT)
Information at practitioner fingertips for best practices in care

Praxis exists to lead global collaboration in spinal cord injury research, innovation and care. We translate knowledge to bridge health evidence with real-world delivery. The word praxis means the practical application of a theory – moving knowledge into action. We measure our success through impact, how Praxis makes a difference to the SCI community.

Improved patient outcomes are being delivered by the Standing and Walking Assessment Tool (SWAT), which helps health practitioners target therapies to help those with incomplete SCI.

The Praxis-led tool is helping guide practitioners to assess a patient in order to give as accurate a diagnosis and prognosis as possible. This means that care decisions on exercise, intervention, and mobility aids are made to best help an individual with SCI achieve greater independence.

The tool, which was developed and is maintained in B.C., allows clinicians to test a patient’s readiness for walking, as well as to assist in identifying areas of deficit that need to be addressed clinically. The assessments also help flag when people are at risk for falls and when they meet functional milestones like being able to walk fast enough to safely cross a street at a light.

With this knowledge, care is tailored to the individual. Data collected help set up realistic targets for therapeutic interventions and also help inform research into walking post SCI. This tool is now a best practice for care across Canada and is part of the Implementation, Evaluation and Quality Care Consortium (SCI-IEQCC), a set of benchmark indicators for SCI. Praxis involvement with SCI-IEQCC. There has also been work done to assess its psychometric properties and also engagement with people with lived experience of SCI (PLEX).

The tool, already implemented across all Praxis-led Canadian National SCI Registry sites, is now being leveraged to explore the role of Activity-based Therapy (ABT) for people with SCI

Musselman KE, Chan K, Walden K, Lemay JF, Gagnon DH, Verrier MC. Validity and responsiveness of the Standing and Walking Assessment Tool for sub-acute traumatic spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord. 2022 Dec;60(12):1108-1114. doi: 10.1038/s41393-022-00830-w. Epub 2022 Jul 4. PMID: 35789193.

“…SWAT is a valid and responsive approach to the measurement of standing and walking ability during sub-acute SCI.” from Musselman et al (2022)


Success means impact; Praxis impacts the lives of people living with spinal cord injury and the SCI community. Read to learn more about Praxis and our work supporting innovation, best practices and accelerating theory into practice.