Screening for Self-Medication Safety Post-Stroke Scale (S-5)

Evidence Reviewed as of before: 07-01-2011
Author(s)*: Annabel McDermott, OT
Editor(s): Nicol Korner-Bitensky, PhD OT


The Screening for Self-Medication Safety Post-Stroke Scale (S-5) is a screen for clinicians to identify patients’ self-medication safety and readiness following stroke. The tool can also be used by health professionals to make recommendations to improve self-medication skills of patients post-stroke (Kaizer, Kim, Van & Korner-Bitensky, 2010).

In-Depth Review

Purpose of the measure

The Screening for Self-Medication Safety Post-Stroke Scale (S-5) is a screen for clinicians to identify patients’ self-medication safety and readiness following stroke. (Kaizer, Kim, Van & Korner-Bitensky, 2010). It is a quick, inexpensive test that uses a checklist-style interview format.

Available versions

There is only one version of the Screening for Self-Medication Safety Post-Stroke Scale (S-5), which was developed by Kaizer, Kim, Van and Korner-Bitensky in 2010.

Features of the measure

Items of the measure:

The S-5 consists of 16 items that assess five domains:

  • Cognition (orientation; immediate and delayed memory recall)
  • Communication (comprehension; reading)
  • Motor function
  • Visual-perception
  • Judgement/executive functions/self-efficacy.

The patient must be able to correctly answer 2 of the first 3 questions regarding orientation to time and space in order to progress with the screen.

Scoring and Score Interpretation:

Each item is scored according to a yes/no response. There is no cumulative score. A score of “no” on any 1 item indicates the need for further assessment regarding this domain, or can be used to guide intervention planning to address this area of difficulty.

Each item also has a “concern” box, where the clinician can identify any concerns regarding the particular item. A summary “Concerns and Recommendations” section at the end of the tool also enables the clinician to document specific concerns and suggestions.


  • Pill bottle with childproof cap
  • Pill bottle without childproof cap
  • Pill bottle with a pharmacy label: must include the information commonly found on a label (medication name, dosage, frequency, time of day to take medication and the name of a person)
  • Liquid bottle with “push and turn” cover and a medicine cup
  • 1 syringe without needle
  • 8 disc-shaped white pills (e.g. shape of a vitamin C)
  • 1 oval-shaped blue or green gel-capsule pill
  • 1 oval shaped orange pill
  • 1 small and 1 larger disc-shaped white pill
  • Three objects: pen, coin & a key


The S-5 takes approximately 10 minutes to administer.

Training requirements:

No training requirements specified.



Alternative forms of the S-5

Not applicable

Client suitability

Can be used with:

  • Clients following stroke.

Should not be used in:

  • Not specified.

In what languages is the measure available?



What does the tool measure? Self-medication safety.
What types of clients can the tool be used for? Patients with stroke.
Is this a screening or assessment tool? Screening tool.
Time to administer Approximately 10 minutes.
Versions There are no alternative versions.
Other Languages There are no official translations.
Measurement Properties
Reliability Test-retest:
The test-retest reliability of the S-5 is currently under study.
Validity Content:
This tool is not intended as a comprehensive assessment of self-medication safety. Some daily self-medication tasks were intentionally not included due to its intended use as a screen only. Accordingly, content validity of this tool was reported as satisfactory.

The concurrent validity has not been examined as there is currently no gold standard for assessing self-medication safety with this population.

Known groups:
The known groups validity of the S-5 is currently under study.

Floor/Ceiling Effects Not yet examined.
Does the tool detect change in patients? Not yet examined.
Acceptability The S-5 is a quick and simple test to administer, with minimal equipment requirements and specific instructions for the assessor to follow.
Feasibility Administration of the S-5 is quick and easy, and can be performed by any member of the multidisciplinary team. Feedback from expert clinicians and patients indicates acceptable administration time, effort and complexity.
How to obtain the tool? Click here to see a copy of the S-5.

Psychometric Properties


Please refer to the article by Kaizer et al. (2010) for information regarding the psychometric properties of the S-5


See the measure

How to obtain the Assessment?

Click here to see a copy of the S-5

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